Men's Basketball Beats Bradley In Season Opener, 84-75
Nov. 10, 2007
Chicago, Ill.- A balanced attack on all fronts, highlighted by Josh Mayo's career-high 34 points, propelled the UIC men's basketball team to a season-opening 84-75 victory over Bradley at the UIC Pavilion on Saturday night.
In head coach Jimmy Collins' first game back on the bench after missing the final 19 games of last season with an abdominal aortic aneurysm, the Flames (1-0) gave their veteran mentor a welcoming gift he will never forget in front of an energized Pavilion crowd of 6,080.
The 5-foot-11 Mayo and 6-foot rookie Robert Kreps each grabbed five rebounds to lead UIC on the boards, while Scott VanderMeer resumed where he left off last season in the paint by blocking five Brave shots.
Mayo was a machine on all fronts. The junior guard finished 11-for-17 from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, and went a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line.
He was also one of the key defenders that forced one of the Missouri Valley Conference's top returning scorers, Daniel Ruffin, to 4-of-15 shooting and a mere 1-of-10 showing from behind the arc.
The Flames led by as many as 15 in the opening stanza, as two consecutive three-pointers off the fingertips of Boyd and a trey from Karl White Jr. pushed UIC to a 27-12 advantage in the middle of the half.
Bradley (0-1) would cut the deficit to two heading into intermission on Ruffin's three-pointer with seven seconds remaining to trim the UIC lead to 34-32.
At the start of the second period the Braves would eventually go ahead, leading by a single point on two separate occasions in the first two minutes of the final half. With the scored tied at 42-42 three minutes into the frame, UIC went on a quick 10-2 run in just over a three-minute span to take an eight-point lead.
UIC would extend its lead to as many as 12, but the Braves would not go away thanks to their deadly outside shooting. Led by the nation's most accurate three-point shooter last year in senior guard Jeremy Crouch, who finished 5-for-7 from behind the arc on Saturday, Bradley would get within four of the Flames with just two minutes remaining.
Following a pair of free throws by Stewart, Mayo nailed the dagger with a triple from the left corner to put the Flames up 79-70 with only a minute on the clock.
Saturday's win was UIC's first over Bradley in three all-time meetings.
UIC host the University of Illinois at Springfield at the Pavilion this Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.