Flames Knock Off Northwestern; Earn Fifth-Straight Win

Dec. 1, 2012

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EVANSTON, Ill. - Seniors Josh Crittle and Daniel Barnes combined for 23 points and 15 rebounds, and UIC men's basketball team held Northwestern to just 34.9 percent shooting, leading to a 50-44 win over the Wildcats at Welsh-Ryan Arena Saturday afternoon. The Flames extended their winning streak to five games, and improved to 6-1 on the season for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.

The win marked UIC's fourth-straight triumph over Northwestern, dating back to the 2002-03 season. The Flames also improved to 2-0 versus Big Ten Conference foes under third-year head coach Howard Moore. UIC defeated in-state rival Illinois at the United Center, 57-54, on Dec. 18, 2010.

"Our guys are starting to reap the benefits of all the hard work that they put in during the offseason," said Moore. "It's rewarding to see these guys have some success. It's been really refreshing to coach this group, and I'm excited about the possibilities of what we can accomplish going forward. We're not satisfied, and we've got so much to get better at. But today is a very good day to be a Flame."

Crittle scored a team-high 13 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, while Barnes scored 10 points on four field goals, and corralled six boards. Junior forward Hayden Humes and senior point guard Gary Talton also chipped in with eight points each. Northwestern was led by Drew Crawford, who scored a game-high 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting.

There were a combined 20 ties and lead changes in the game. UIC out-scored the Wildcats 24-20 in the paint, 14-4 off turnovers and 15-3 on second chance points. The Flames forced Northwestern into 16 turnovers and swiped nine total steals. UIC has now held five opponents under 35 percent shooting from the field, and four foes to less than 50 total points.

Eleven of the 20 ties/lead changes came in the first half, as Northwestern took a 26-25 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Flames broke an early 3-3 tie with an 8-4 run, claiming an 11-7 lead with 13:46 remaining. Crittle and Barnes each had field goals in the spurt. UIC held the lead for the ensuing 5:23, before Northwestern tied the game, 15-15, following a pair of converted free throws from Crawford.

Kale Abrahamson hit a transition three with 5:27 left, giving Northwestern its first lead (20-19) since the 15:54 mark of the first half. Talton hit two free throws on the other end, pushing UIC back ahead, 21-20. Crawford, Reggie Hearn and Abrahamson combined for six points down the stretch of the frame, making the score 26-25 at halftime.

UIC was forced into its first timeout with 16:21 remaining in the second half, after Northwestern claimed its largest lead, 32-27. Barnes hit a three out of the timeout, pulling the deficit back within one possession (32-30). Crittle then converted a conventional three-point play to push the Flames back in front, 33-32, with 14:02 left.

Sophomore forward Marc Brown, who drew the defensive assignment on Crawford, received a pass from Crittle with 8:09 remaining, scored the basket and drew the foul on Crawford to help the Flames build a three-point lead, 38-35. UIC held the lead until the 4:18 mark, when Crawford drilled a three to give the Wildcats their final lead, 42-40. The Flames outscored the Wildcats 10-2 down the stretch to secure their second-straight road win. Crittle and Humes combined to go 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final 29 seconds.

UIC will begin a three-game homestand Wednesday (Dec. 5), when the Flames host Roosevelt University at the Pavilion beginning at 7:00 p.m.