Men's Basketball Edges Evansville, 64-61
Nov. 27, 2001
On this night, though, it was two of head coach Jimmy Collins' original recruits, senior's Cory Little and Thor Solverson, that helped guide the Flames to a nail-biting 64-61 victory over Evansville in front of 2,509 at the UIC Pavilion.
Solverson tallied a team-high 14 points and seven rebounds while Little, who led the Flames with seven rebounds, came up big for UIC down the stretch, netting seven of his 11 points in the final five minutes of the contest.
"Down the stretch we kept our composure and we are able to get the things done we wanted to do," Little said
The Flames (3-0) trailed the Purple Aces (1-3) by six points, 59-53, with 4:54 left when Little took control.
The 6-foot-5 forward splashed in a jumper to pull UIC to within four. Then after Solverson split a pair of free throws to cut the lead to three, Little scored five unanswered points, giving the Flames a 61-59 advantage.
Evansville would narrow the lead down again on a pair of free throws by Clint Cuffle, but Solverson got the Flames back up by four, turning a nifty pass from Jonathan Schneiderman into a three-point play for a 64-61 lead that would stand.
The Purple Aces would get one final look at the basket, as Jordan Watson, who had made five previous three-pointers, saw his trifecta attempt go long as time expired.
Watson led Evansville with a game-high 17 points while Clint Cuffle added 14 and Ian Hanavan chippped in with 11.
Banks was the other Flame to finish in double figures, recording 11 points on the night. Martell Bailey was limited to just 12 minutes of action after injuring his tailbone in the second half.
UIC led 29-28 at the half and are now 3-0 on the season and 12-1 dating back to last year when leading at intermission. The Flames never owned a lead greater than three points in the game in which three Evansville players fouled out.
"Tonight's game was one of those games you learn a lot from," Collins said after the contest. "I guess you play a well coached team with players that come out and play hard, to win is good."
With the win, UIC is now 3-0 for the first time since the 1997-98 season in which the Flames shared the regular-season conference title and made their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
After playing the opening three at home, UIC now takes its show on the road, beginning Thursday at Southern Illinois, before wrapping up the week at Norfolk State on Saturday evening.