Men's Basketball Defeats UNI In Home Opener, 84-77
Nov. 19, 2008
Chicago, Ill.- Senior guard Josh Mayo scored a game-high 27 points and sophomore forward Tori Boyd hit four three-pointers in a career-high 17-point effort to pace the UIC men's basketball team to an 84-77 victory over UNI in the Flames' 2008-09 home opener on Wednesday night.
In the first regular season game at the revamped UIC Pavilion, the Flames (1-1) picked up where they left off last season by displaying red-hot shooting from their home floor. UIC shot 50 percent (26-for-52) from the field, including a 62.5 percent (10-for-16) clip from downtown, after finishing near 50 percent in both categories as a team at home in 2007-08.
Mayo hit three of his four attempts from downtown and was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line, while Boyd nailed a career-high four treys in addition to pulling down seven rebounds.
Jordan Egleseder paced the Panthers (1-1) with a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds.
After a tightly-contested first half that saw UNI take a two-point lead into intermission on Kwadzo Ahelegbe's buzzer-beating three-pointer, the Panthers would go up by as many as five early in the second half. But Boyd's third three of the game five minutes into the final stanza capped a 10-2 run that put UIC ahead, and after Adam Koch made a pair of free throws that put the Panthers within one, Boyd hit another shot from downtown that keyed a 15-0 UIC eruption. Mayo scored nine of those points during the latter spurt.
The Flames would go up by as many as 17 with just over four minutes remaining, but UNI made it interesting at the end. Ali Farokhmanesh made three three-pointers in the game's final two minutes to bring the visitors within five. UIC would turn away the late rally by making six of seven attempts from the charity stripe during that span.
Boyd also turned in the defensive play of the game when Egleseder pulled down an offensive rebound and appeared to have an open look at the bucket with a few ticks over a minute left, but the Flames' sophomore forward made a high-flying leap for an outstanding block that gave possession back to UIC.
"A good win for us against a very tough basketball team," said UIC head coach Jimmy Collins. "It was the kind of game that we expect in playing Missouri Valley teams [in the non-conference season] and playing in the Horizon League. We expect games to go down to the wire like that.
"It was good that our guys hung together, stuck together and played through some adversity. All basketball games have adversity, and we played through some today."
Junior forward Rob Eppinger was solid in his first Division I start, scoring a hard-nosed 10 points and adding four boards in 28 minutes.
UIC hosts DePaul in a crosstown showdown at the UIC Pavilion, the first meeting between the two teams on UIC's home court, this Saturday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.