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Faltering late

Flames come close, but drop 13th straight at Resch

By Mike Pankow

February 3, 2017

Mike Pankow/Whoosh! file photo

Redshirt freshman Dominique Matthews scored a career-high 22 points Thursday night in UIC’s loss at Green Bay.

UIC almost rid of itself of one of its skeletons Thursday night.

However, Green Bay continued to frustrate the Flames by rallying from a 10-point, second-half deficit to defeat UIC 84-80 to win for the 13th straight meeting at the Resch Center.

Redshirt freshman Dominique Matthews scored a career-high 22 points and true freshman K.J. Santos added a career-best 17 points to lead the Flames (11-12, 4-6 Horizon), who lost their fourth straight overall. Junior Tai Odiase, who tweaked his ankle a couple of weeks ago, looked more like his normal self, racking up a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds to go with three blocks.

Warren Jones had 18 points and seven assists while filling for injured point guard Trevor Anderson to lead the Phoenix (14-9, 8-3). Big man Kenneth Lowe made his first seven shots en route to a 16-point night for Green Bay.

UIC, which led for much of the night, held a 69-59 advantage halfway through the second half and appeared ready to snap the Resch jinx.

Matthews hit a jumper to stretch the lead to 10 with 9:58 remaining before Green Bay finally turned the tide with a 14-2 run.

David Jesperson, who provided a second-half spark, converted a three-point play to pull the Phoenix within 69-68 with 6:24 left.

Tarkus Ferguson, who committed seven turnovers, lost the ball to Khalil Small on the ensuing possession and Lowe finished with a dunk to give Green Bay a 70-69 lead.

Moments later, Jones drilled one of his four 3-pointers for a 73-69 Phoenix lead. Jones hit another trey for a five-point lead with 3:50 remaining.

The Flames pulled to within two points twice in the final minute, including on Santos’ thunderous rebound dunk with 10 seconds left, but the Phoenix closed strong on the foul line, making all eight of their free throws in the last 47 seconds.

UIC opened the game on a 10-2 run in the first two minutes and eventually extended its lead to 14 in the first half.

Santos, who hit three of his first four 3-point attempts, and Matthews were chiefly responsible for the Flames’ hot start.

Odiase hit a short jumper in the lane to give the Flames a 33-21 lead with six minutes remaining in the first half.

Matthews drilled a 3-pointer with 5:22 left to push UIC’s lead to 36-22 before things unraveled before the half.

The Flames still led by 11 with 3:14 before halftime, but the Phoenix got a few breaks from the officials, including a phantom over-and-back call against UIC and a technical foul whistled on Flames coach Steve McClain.

Green Bay closed the half on a 13-0 run, including a fadeway 3-pointer at the buzzer by Jones, to take an unthinkable 43-41 lead into the locker room.

UIC regained control with a 17-6 run early in the second half. Ferguson’s layup with 14:11 left put the Flames ahead 58-51.

FLAMES FLICKERS:The Flames shot 44.3 percent from the field to the Phoenix’s 41.8 percent, but Green Bay was 22-for-29 from the free-throw line to UIC’s 7-for-9. … The Flames made 11 of 28 on 3-pointers for 39.3 percent, matching a season-high in 3-point makes. They also had 11 against San Francisco (Nov. 11) and Youngstown State (Jan. 14). … UIC’s last win at Resch Center came during the Flames’ NCAA tournament season in 2004. Cedrick Banks had 18 points and eight rebounds in the Flames’ 63-55 victory over the Phoenix. … Despite his seven turnovers, Ferguson did some other things well, recording 12 points, nine rebounds and a team-high five assists. … Freshman Godwin Boahen also scored in double figures, finishing with 13 points.

In other recent news:
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Valparaiso 96, UIC 65: Winning streak extinguished (1/23/17)
UIC 71, Milwaukee 57: Adversity not stopping Flames (1/18/17)
UIC 92, Youngstown State 89 (OT): The few, the proud (1/15/17)
UIC 59, Cleveland State 54: Not pretty, but pretty sweet (1/13/17)
Oakland 58, UIC 57: Measuring up (1/9/17)
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