Flames Pull Away From Colorado State for Seventh-Straight Win, 64-55
Dec. 8, 2012
Gary Talton scored a game-high 20 points to lead a foursome of Flames in double figures, and the UIC men's basketball team held its fifth-straight opponent under 35 percent shooting in a 64-55 win over Colorado State at the UIC Pavilion Saturday afternoon. The victory extended the Flames' winning streak to seven games, the program's longest such streak since the 1997-98 campaign.
With the win, UIC improved to 8-1 on the season, while Colorado State dropped to 6-2 overall. The Flames held the Rams to just a 33.3 percent output from the field, and forced CSU into 15 turnovers.
"We beat a very well-coached team today," said head coach Howard Moore. "I thought our guys really stayed with the game plan and they were able to pull out a very good victory. We did a great job of identifying shooters, taking away driving lanes and finishing the possessions with our defensive rebounding. As I keep telling these guys, our defense is going to keep us in games. We found ways to score off our defense, and that's what we have to continue to do."
The majority of Talton's scoring output came from the free throw line, where he was a perfect 12-for-12, including 6-of-6 effort in the final 4:23. Joining Talton in double figures was senior guard Daniel Barnes (14 points), sophomore wing Marc Brown (12) and senior center Josh Crittle (10). CSU was led by Greg Smith, who poured in 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Leading scorer Colton Iverson was held to just eight points and eight rebounds.
Colorado State threw the first punch, jumping out to a 6-0 lead through the opening 2:40. But the Flames fought back to claim a 9-8 lead after Crittle converted a pair of deep jumpers. The Rams answered with six-straight points, and extended their lead to 15-9 at the second media timeout (11:57).
Crittle picked up his second foul at the 6:09 mark of the first half with Colorado State leading by five, 19-14. UIC's Will Simonton stepped up to the challenge. He blocked two shots on one possession alone, spearheading a defensive sequence that saw the Flames limit CSU to just one field goal in the final 7:42. UIC went on a 7-0 run during the stretch, taking a 21-19 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Flames limited CSU to just 25.8 percent shooting in the opening frame, and forced seven turnovers.
CSU opened up a 31-25 lead just over four minutes into the second half, but Brown converted a pair of field goals to keep the Flames within two possessions (31-27) at the first media break (15:15) of the frame. Crittle was then immediately whistled for his third foul out of the break (14:39). Colorado State took advantage, building a 37-29 lead with 12:43 left. But at the under-12 (11:58) media, the Flames trailed by just five, 37-32 thanks to a transition three by Barnes.
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy was whistled for a technical foul with 11:07 remaining after Smith was called for a charge. The Flames took advantage by stringing together an 8-1 run to take a 42-40 lead - the spurt was bolstered by two more threes by Barnes. Daniel Bejarano hit a three from the wing with 8:30 left, and the Rams re-claimed the lead, 43-42.
UIC took the lead for good (47-46) at the 5:12 mark, after Simonton converted a left-handed runner. He was fouled on UIC's next possession, and buried both freebies to push the Flames' lead to three points, 49-46. UIC finished the game off from the charity stripe, going 11-for-12 in the final 4:23. Talton hit a three-pointer with 2:12 remaining to give UIC a two-possession lead, 55-50. Crittle's conventional three-point play with 35 seconds left gave the Flames a comfortable 62-53 lead.
UIC will wrap-up its three-game homestand next Saturday, when the Flames host Eastern Michigan at the Pavilion beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Eagles (6-2) upset visiting Purdue, 47-44 in Ypsilanti, Mich., Saturday.