Flames Win Third-Straight, 56-45 over Southeast Missouri

Nov. 24, 2012

UIC 56, Southeast Missouri 45 Get Acrobat Reader

CHICAGO - The UIC men's basketball team dug down on defense for 40 minutes, grinding out its third-straight win, 56-45, over Southeast Missouri at the UIC Pavilion Saturday afternoon. Senior center Josh Crittle asserted himself inside, posting his first-career double-double with a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds, leading a trio of Flames in double figures.

For the second-straight game, UIC's senior starters led the offensive attack. Crittle's 17 points and 12 boards both marked career-highs for his Division I career. Point guard Gary Talton recorded his fifth double-digit scoring output of the season, chipping in 14 points to go along with a career-high nine rebounds, while Daniel Barnes scored 10 points. The Flames recorded a resounding 50-40 advantage on the boards and committed just five turnovers on offense. UIC also out-scored SEMO 18-0 off turnovers.

SEMO, which was picked second in its division of the Ohio Valley Conference, received double-digit scoring efforts from Corey Wilford and Tyler Stone, who scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.

UIC has now won three-straight games for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign. The Flames' 4-1 start to the season marks its best start to a campaign since 2003-04, when UIC jumped out of the gate with a 6-1 mark. SEMO dropped to 3-4 overall.

"I've been saying this all season; we've got to be a grind-it-out type of team," said head coach Howard Moore. "Our staple has to be our defense. We held a very good team to only 30 percent shooting. We shot a dismal 28 percent ourselves, but we got the stops when we needed them, and we made our free throws down the stretch, which was critical."

The Redhawks were the aggressors in the early stages, jumping out to a 16-9 lead just over seven minutes into the game. UIC claimed its first lead at the 9:57 mark, after a three-pointer by sophomore guard Joey Miller made the score 18-16. A three-pointer by Talton with 5:13 remaining in the first half gave the Flames their biggest lead of the frame, 26-19.

SEMO went on an ensuing 6-0 spurt to trim the Flames' lead to 26-25 with 2:17 left in the first half. Crittle tallied his fifth field goal of the frame with 1:20 showing on the clock, giving UIC a 28-25 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.

UIC extended its lead to 31-25 seven possessions into the second half, but the Redhawks answered with a 7-0 run, taking a 32-31 lead with 12:33 remaining. Junior forward Hayden Humes converted his lone field goal with 6:59 remaining, giving the Flames a 41-39 lead that they would not relinquish. SEMO's Marland Smith hit two free throws with 1:53 left, trimming UIC's lead to 50-45, but the Redhawks could draw no closer.

UIC will play its first true road game of the season next Tuesday (Nov. 27), when the Flames travel to DeKalb, Ill., to take on Northern Illinois beginning at 7:00 p.m. CST. The Huskies dropped a 53-46 decision versus Loyola at the Convocation Center on Saturday.