Flames Defeat UC Riverside in Season Opener, 59-52

Nov. 11, 2012

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CHICAGO - The UIC men's basketball team opened the 2012-13 campaign with a 59-52 win over visiting UC Riverside at the UIC Pavilion Sunday afternoon. Senior center Josh Crittle and sophomore guard Joey Miller, both first-year transfers, combined to score 29 points.

"I thought our guys came out with a purpose tonight - we wanted to make a statement and begin to establish our goals for the season," said head coach Howard Moore. "Everything is about our approach; every game, every practice, every possession. These guys have been buying in. Today was a hard-fought victory for a team that is trying to find its identity; I think we're on the right path to start the season."

Crittle led all scorers with 15 points, a career-high for his three-year Division I career. He was 5-for-11 from the field, 5-of-6 from the free throw line and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Miller was 4-for-6 from three-point land in 23 minutes off the bench.

Additonally, junior forward Hayden Humes and senior guard Gary Talton chipped in with 10 apiece. UC Riverside was led by Josh Fox, who tallied a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.

The Flames came out hot, jumping out to a 14-2 lead bolstered by nine quick points from Humes, including a pair of three-pointers. UC Riverside clawed back, eventually trimming the Flames' advantage to six (22-16) with 7:16 left in the opening frame.

UIC built its lead back to eight points with 2:23 remaining, but the Highlanders finished the frame on a 7-3 spurt to pull within five, 30-25, heading into the locker room at halftime. Humes' 10 points led all scorers in the opening frame. He was 4-for-5 from the field and 2-of-3 from behind the arc. Miller chipped in with nine points, all on threes.

UIC went on a 10-2 run to begin the second half, claiming a game-high 40-27 advantage. The Highlanders battled back, pulling within 50-47 with 4:09 remaining. Miller answered with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to push the lead back to two possessions (53-47), but UCR's Chris Harriel hit another three, making the score 53-50 with 2:28 left.

The Flames showed poise down the stretch, outscoring the Highlanders 6-2 in the final 1:56. Talton helped seal the victory with three converted free throws, while senior guard Daniel Barnes drilled a three from the wing with 1:09 remaining, giving UIC a three-possession (58-50) lead.

UIC will depart for the US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam at University of the Virgin Islands on Wednesday. The Flames will take on New Mexico in the opening game of the tournament on Friday, Nov. 16.