Rough game for Flames capped by McClain's ejection
By Mike Pankow
January 18, 2019
The Flames shot just 37.7 percent from the field overall and couldn't overcome a 15-point deficit in an 81-69 loss to Milwaukee at UWM Panther Arena on Thursday night.
DeAndre Abram scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half and added 16 rebounds and Amir Allen contributed a career-high 16 points as the Panthers (8-11, 3-3 Horizon League), shot 49.1 percent on the night.
The Flames (9-10, 3-3) led 11-7 in the early going as UIC hit three of its first six 3-point attempts before Abram caused plenty of angst.
The game was a seesaw affair for much of the first half as Michael Diggins hit a 3-pointer to put UIC ahead 20-19 with 4:55 left, but Abram rained in a trey of his own to start a 13-3 run to end the half.
"We were playing hard and we were getting wide-open looks," McClain said. "Early in the game we were making them. We had some wide-open shots that didn't go in and they had (Abram) get hot. You always know on the road that the home team is going to make a run. You go in at halftime and you're down, but it isn't an amount you can't overcome."
Things got a little difficult early in the second half when UIC's Jordan Blount was called for a technical foul after a replay review for taking a swipe at Milwaukee's Darius Roy after a common foul had stopped play. After an official explanation, McClain received a technical.
Jake Wright made all four free throws as the Panthers took their largest lead of the game at 41-26 with 17:42 remaining.
"More than anything they had to understand that they were going to have overcome everything," McClain said. "That's part of being on the road. You don't always expect that in league play, but that's part of it."
Ferguson hit another trey from beyond NBA range to cut UIC's deficit to 57-53 with 7:02 left, but Vance Johnson answered with a pair of free throws and Allen added an old-fashioned three-point play to extend the lead back to nine and the Flames never threatened again.
The Flames made just 10 of 35 3-point attempts and at times, their toughness failed them.
"We just have to lock in," said Marcus Ottey, who led the Flames with 18 points, including 12 in the second half. "I thought we fought hard. A lot of calls didn't go our way. We've just got to be tough throughout the whole game."
McClain received his second technical and was ejected with 20.2 seconds left in the game.
"The referee said I said something and I did, but I didn't use bad language. I told him what I thought," McClain said. "It's life on the road. It's part of what our team has to deal with, but I'm going to fight for my kids."
FLAMES FLICKERS: Ferguson had another strong performance at Panther Arena, probably his favorite road venue. He finished with five 3-pointers, 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and no steals. He's averaged 20.0 points and 6.3 assists in this building in three games. ... The Flames finished with a season-low eight turnovers. ... Blount had five points and 10 rebounds for UIC before fouling out with about four minutes left. He appeared to tweak his left ankle, but he should be fine for Saturday's game at Green Bay. ... Godwin Boahen had 14 points, four rebounds and a team-high five assists. ... Junior Rob Howard tweaked his right ankle early in the first half, but he returned and ended up with seven points and eight rebounds before fouling out. ... McClain is 2-2 at UWM Panther Arena with the Flames. ... Milwaukee hosted their annual mascot game at halftime, which featured the Brewers' famous racing sausages.