LATE TURNOVERS KILL FLAMES
January 16, 2015
Jarrod Williams hit two free throws with 2.6 seconds left as Detroit pulled out an improbable 69-68 victory over the Flames at the Pavilion.
The Flames (5-14, 1-3 Horizon League) turned the ball over twice within the last 10 seconds, completely burning away a 13-point, second-half lead.
Nursing a 68-65 lead, UIC had the ball with 41 seconds to play. Titans coach Ray McCallum elected not to foul the Flames, who were the Horizon's top free-throw shooting team.
With the shot clock running down and game clock under 10 seconds, D'Juan Miller tossed an errant pass toward the Flames' Jay Harris at the top of the key. Chris Jenkins swooped in and stole the ball and ran in for a quick dunk with 3.7 seconds remaining to cut UIC's lead to 68-67.
After a timeout, the Flames' Marc Brown tried a long inbounds pass, which was intercepted by Williams just past midcourt and freshman Lance Whitaker, who was the intended receiver, undercut Williams and was called for the foul with 2.6 ticks left.
Williams calmly made both free throws to give the Titans their first lead of the second half. Miller missed a half-court prayer at the buzzer and somehow the Flames were saddled with a loss despite leading for 28 minutes.
Harris led all scorers with 22 points and also added eight assists while hitting 12 of 13 free throws for the Flames, who actually trailed 10-0 out of the game before bouncing back in a big way. Jake Wiegand added 14 points, including five dunks, for UIC.
Paris Bass led the Titans (9-9, 3-1) wih 19 points and six rebounds. Juwan Howard Jr. contributed 14 points and Jenkins ended up with 13 for Detroit, which shot just 11-for-23 from the free-throw line but hit them when the game was on the line.
UIC played without three regulars, including freshman center Tai Odiase (right leg), junior forward Jason McClellan (concussion) and junior guard Paris Burns (left knee).
Things really didn't look good when the Flames fell behind 10-0 less than four minutes, but Wiegand finally responded with the first of his five dunks to get UIC off the schneid.
Marc Brown scored six straight points to pull the Flames within 12-8.
UIC took its first lead of the game at 16-15 when Markese McGuire hit a pair of free throws with 11:56 left in the first half.
The Flames then got hot and Gabe Snider drilled a pair of 3-pointers in the last three minutes of the period as UIC opened a 40-33 halftime. After its slow start, UIC shot a season-best 61 percent in the first half.
UIC started the second half on an 8-2 run capped by Wiegand's layup with 16:47 left for a 48-35 lead.
Things started to get dicey when Wiegand drew his third foul of the game with the Flames ahead 51-41 with 13:54 left. When Wiegand returned at the 7:49 mark, UIC's lead was down to six.
Bass hit a pair of free throws and threw down a dunk as the Titans sliced the gap to 54-52 with 6:35 remaining.
Harris converted a three-point play with 5:59 left as the Flames built their lead back to 59-52, but the Flames would hit only more field goal the rest of the night.
Detroit finally erased UIC's lead when Jenkins scored on a layup off Howard's steal to tie the contest at 63-63 with 2:50 left.
After each team traded missed baskets, Harris responded with a 3-pointer from the right wing for a 66-63 UIC lead with 1:44 left.
Two free throws by Whitaker put the Flames ahead 68-64 with 51 seconds left. Bass split a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left, setting up UIC's late collapse.
FLAMES FLICKERS: UIC committed 16 turnovers compared to eight for Detroit. ... After their hot first half of shooting, the Flames hit just 28.6 percent of their shots in the second half. ... UIC senior Ahman Fells had a career-high four steals to go with seven points and four rebounds before fouling out in the final minute. ... UIC was 22-for-26 (84.6 percent) from the free-throw line.