Gary Talton (4) finished the game with 16 points.
The Flames began the second half the same way they finished the first half, sluggish. The Flames only managed two baskets within the first four minutes of the half. The Vikings kept finding ways to get open shots and challenge UIC inside the paint. Marlon Mason and Charlie Lee were the starts of the show for Cleveland State tonight.
They combined for 33 points, 9 rebounds, and 11 assists. Turnovers and missed shots were once again the issue for the Flames. Josh Crittle scored 11 tonight but should have had more as he missed numerous shots. Most of his misses were free throws, the others were easy layups and short jumpers which wouldn’t go.
Not helping matters was the fact that CSU out-rebounded UIC 38-24. Josh Crittle struggled in the box against the undersized Viking players he went up against. The Flames did try to mount a comeback midway through the half. At one point they went on a 15-2 run. But CSU always found a way to stop the Flames momentum.
Foul trouble was also a problem as Crittle and his backup center Will Simonton had three fouls each. Daniel Barnes had four fouls on his own but did managed to finish second in scoring with 14. Barnes and Talton managed to put together quite the effort in the second half. Forward Anthony Kelley also did his best to boost Howard Moore’s squad as he scored seven of his 11 points in the final frame.
But in the end it wasn’t enough as the Vikings did plenty of damage in the first half, and managed to do enough in the second half to stay ahead. The Flames just could not come up with a solution to stop CSU’s jump shot frenzy tonight and their winning streak now ends at three games. CSU wins 77-66
They have now won eight in-a-row at the UIC Pavilion, they are now 11-12 (3-6 Horizon League) on the 2012-2013 season. The Flames fall to 14-9 (5-5 Horizon League) and they now head on the road for the next four games. This will be the most difficult trip of the season for UIC.
They have to go to Valparaiso, Youngstown State, Loyola, and UW-Milwaukee. The Flames are 3-1 against those four teams this season. So hopefully that statistic will give them a little hope as they continue through the month of February. As for Cleveland State, they will get a little bit of home cooking as they welcome Youngstown and Valpo to Northeast Ohio next week.
The Flames still have a chance to get an NCAA Tournament bid, this loss is just one dent in the road. Here is tonight’s box score:
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