Late Rally Helps Akron Edge Men's Basketball, 54-52
Dec. 4, 2010
CHICAGO - Senior guard Robo Kreps scored 14 points to lead the Flames in scoring for the fifth time this season, but the UIC men's basketball team was out-scored 34-20 in the second half, and dropped a 54-52 non-conference decision versus visiting Akron at the UIC Pavilion Saturday afternoon.
Kreps was joined in double figures by junior center Darrin Williams, who came off the bench to score a season-high 12 points to go along with five offensive rebounds. Akron (3-3) was led by Nikola Cvetinovic's 19 points.
The Flames (4-5) raced out to a 32-20 halftime advantage, and held the lead until the final minute of the game, before Cvetinovic tallied the game-winning field goal with just 19 seconds remaining.
"Our guys came out with a sense of urgency, trying to get a little bit of redemption from Thursday's game," said UIC head coach Howard Moore. "We came out with a good spark, and with a purpose. We built a double-digit halftime lead again, and in the locker room, we talked about not letting our lead or intensity slip.
"In the second half, we lost some opportunities offensively, and we didn't execute the way we did in the first half. We allowed Akron to disrupt us, and get us out of our flow. The result was another heartbreaking loss. We talk about urgency every day; it has to show up in everything you do. We've got to continue to develop good habits, and when we do, we'll be one of those teams that pulls out a close game in the end."
After falling behind 7-2 in the early going, the Flames claimed their first lead with 11:12 remaining in the first half after Williams' first field goal. The advantage was stretched to double-digits (21-11) with 7:43 remaining, and grew to a dozen (32-20) at the 1:25 mark. UIC scored 18 points in the paint in the first half, and received 11 points from its bench.
The Zips scored the first seven points of the second half, trimming UIC's lead to 32-27 less than one minute (19:01) into the stanza. The Flames countered with a commanding 10-2 run, and took a 42-29 lead with 16:24 remaining - Williams had two field goals off put-backs during the stretch.
Akron trimmed the deficit to just five (45-40) at the 9:29 mark after a field goal by center Zeke Marshall. The Flames pushed the lead back to seven points twice in the ensuing four and a half minutes, before a three-pointer by Steve McNees pulled the Zips within one possession (51-49) with 2:29 left.
Williams split two free throws on the other end, giving the Flames a 52-49 lead with 2:12 remaining. Akron's Brett McClanahan then hit a three, tying the game at 52-52 with 1:03 remaining, forcing UIC into a timeout. UIC turned the ball over with 50 seconds remaining, and after Akron's Darryl Roberts missed a runner in the lane, Cvetinovic corralled the offensive rebound, and scored off glass, in what ended up being the game-winning field goal.
UIC will be idle until next Saturday (Dec. 11), when the Flames travel to Normal, Ill., to take on Illinois State. Tip-off from Redbird Arena is set for 7:05 p.m., and the game will be televised on Comcast Sports Net Chicago.