Flames Grind Out Fourth-Straight Win, 58-46 at NIU
Nov. 27, 2012
Hayden Humes poured in a game-high 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting and the Flames stifled host Northern Illinois to just 32.7 percent shooting, leading to a 58-46 win over the Huskies at the Convocation Center Tuesday night. The victory extended the Flames' winning streak to four games.
With the win, UIC improved to 5-1 overall, its best start to a campaign since 2003-04, when UIC jumped out of the gate with a 6-1 mark. Northern Illinois dropped to 1-4.
"Northern Illinois did a good job of not allowing us to get into a rhythm tonight," said head coach Howard Moore. "But I thought our guys really gutted it out. We weren't as sharp as we need to be to consistently win on the road, but we made plays when we needed to. I thought Danny Barnes really led us tonight. He hit some big shots, and really attacked the glass.
"If we can continue to have balance in our scoring, it's really going to help us. It helps us put pressure on the opponent, because we expect our defense to be there every game."
Joining Humes in double figures were the Flames' three senior starters -guard Daniel Barnes (11), point guard Gary Talton (10) and center Josh Crittle (10). Talton also dished out five assists against just one turnover, while Barnes pulled down a game and career-high tying eight rebounds. NIU was led by Sam Mader's 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
UIC has now held three opponents under 50 points this season, and four to less than 35 percent shooting from the field.
UIC took control of the game just over five minutes in, going on a 13-6 run to claim a 20-11 lead with 5:29 remaining in the first half. Humes, Barnes and Crittle combined to convert four field goals during the stretch. NIU pulled within five (22-17) after a layup by Keith Gray with 2:48 left, but the Flames scored on consecutive possessions to push their lead back to double digits, 27-17, at the 1:31 mark. The Huskies' Darrell Bowie converted a runner as time expired at the end of the half, trimming UIC's lead to 27-19 heading into the locker room at intermission.
UIC scored the first four points of the second half, claiming a game-high 14-point (33-19) lead with 17:18 remaining. The Flames' lead fluctuated between three and four possessions for the ensuing six minutes, before NIU cut its deficit to 38-33 (11:12) after a converted layup by Kevin Gray. Humes answered with a three two possessions later, pushing the Flames' lead back to eight points, 41-33.
Talton converted two free throws with 7:30 left to give UIC a double-digit advantage (46-35) that it maintained for the next three minutes. The Huskies made one last charge to pull within 51-44 with 3:27 remaining, but Crittle went 5-for-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to preserve the Flames' first road win of the season.
UIC will wrap up its two-game road swing Saturday, when the Flames make the short trip to Evanston to take on Northwestern beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Wildcats (6-1) lost their first game of the season Tuesday night, falling short against Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, 77-57.