Close, but no cigar for Flames
BETTER EFFORT CAN’T END SLIDE
January 31, 2010
Despite shooting 47 percent and leading for the entire first half, UIC fell 76-73 to the Titans at Calihan Hall. It was the Flames’ eight straight loss and they dropped to 0-11 away from the Pavilion.
A horrid start to the second half was a killer for the Flames. After grabbing a 38-36 lead at halftime, UIC (5-16, 1-10 Horizon) missed its first 12 shot attempts of the period and allowed Detroit to score 16 straight points.
Unlike in Thursday night’s 79-43 loss against Wright State when the Flames lost their fight in the face of adversity, UIC hung tough and rallied back into the game.
“We made some positive strides in terms of effort,” UIC coach Jimmy Collins said. “We certainly put forth the effort. We made a few mistakes, and I wish our defense was better today. It was very to beat anyone when they shoot 56 percent. But our effort was there.”
The Flames had a chance to tie the game at the end, but Robo Kreps’ three-point attempt was blocked by Titans center Eli Holman just before the final buzzer.
“I had my eyes set on Kreps,” Holman said of UIC’s go-to player. “I knew that he was going to get the ball. I had to shoot across the court to get to him.”
Chase Simon led Detroit (14-8, 7-4) with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Xavier Keeling had 14 points, Thomas Kennedy scored 11 and Holman contributed seven points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Jeremy Buttell scored 23 points and made 7 of 8 shots from inside the arc to lead the Flames. Zavion Neely contributed 16 points and Kreps and Brad Birton each added 11 points. Spencer Stewart dished out a career-best nine assists.
UIC made its first five shots of the game as it jumped out to a 12-5 lead. The Flames kept the Titans at the bay for the entire first half, holding a seven-point lead on numerous occasions.
However, the first seven minutes of the second half were nightmarish for UIC. Chase Simon hit a three-pointer with 18:31 left in the game to give Detroit is first lead of the game.
By the time the smoke cleared and Holman slammed home two thunderous dunks, the Titans led 52-38 with 13:24 to go.
The Flames struck back with a 12-2 run, which included seven points from Buttell, to close to within 58-57 with 7:31 remaining.
Detroit took as much as an eight-point lead in the final minutes before UIC trimmed the deficit to back to two points on Neely’s layup with 12.5 seconds left.
Keeling split a pair of free throws with 7.3 seconds to play to set up the Flames’ final failed attempt.
FLAMES FLICKERS: Detroit made 22 turnovers, leading to 23 Flames’ points. … Detroit was 17-for-30 (57 percent) from the free-throw line, while UIC was just 6-for-7 (86 percent). … Detroit senior guard Woody Payne had seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. … The Titans held a 38-26 rebounding advantage.