Flames sweep through Motor City for 6th win in row
By Mike Pankow
February 5, 2018
The first: Look more like the player the Flames know he can be. The second: Contribute in extending UIC’s winning streak to six games.
Missions accomplished. Dixson scored 23 points, grabbed a season-high rebounds and matched a season-high with four steals Sunday afternoon as the Flames (14-11, 9-3) defeated Detroit Mercy 78-69 at Calihan Hall to move to within one game of first place in the Horizon League with six games remaining.
Dixson went 7-for-11 from the field and 8-for-10 from the foul to hit the 20-point mark for the fifth time this season after going 0-for-4 Friday night in the win at Oakland.
After the Flames fell behind 7-0, Dixson finally get his team on the board with a short jumper in the lane just over 3 minutes into the contest.
Dixson hit another jumper and a 3-pointer to ignite a 12-2 run that gave the Flames the lead for good midway through the first half. Dixson finished with seven points in the run.
Tarkus Ferguson, who also had a strong offensive game with 15 points and 11 rebounds, drilled back-by-back 3-pointers to boost UIC’s advantage to 11 at 37-26 with 3:40 left in the first half.
The Titans (7-18, 3-9) pulled to within four before freshman Jacob Wiley hit a layup in the final seconds of the half to give the Flames a 43-37 lead at the break.
After again falling behind by double digits, Detroit made a bit of a run. Cole Long scored on a layup to cut the Flames’ lead to 54-51 with 14:08 left.
The Flames, with their newfound swagger, countered with a 9-1 run with four different players scoring. Clint Robinson scored in the post, followed by a jumper in transition by Dixson. Dominique Matthews drilled a 3-pointer and Ferguson hit a pair of free throws to cap the burst to open a 63-52 lead with 8:05 left.
UIC eventually pushed the lead to 69-56 on Marcus Ottey’s layup with 5:23 remaining and the Flames never led by fewer than four the rest of the way.
The short-handed Titans, with several players out due to injury, kept it close for a while, thanks to Josh McFolley’s career-high 30 points and six steals.
The Flames also continued their strong run of solid defensive performances, holding Detroit to 34.8 percent shooting, including 4-for-27 from 3-point range.
UIC has now won six straight on the road and nine of 10 games overall since a 5-10, 0-2 start to the season.
The Flames return home for a two-game homestand against Youngstown State and Cleveland State later this week and finish the regular season with five of six at the UIC Pavilion.
FLAMES FLICKERS: Tai Odiase, who led UIC in scoring against Oakland, had seven points and eight rebounds Sunday. … All 10 Flames that played scored at least one field goal. … Godwin Boahen finished with eight points and was 2-for-3 from 3-point range. The sophomore guard is now 19-for-25 on 3s (76 percent) in his last seven games. He has made at least two from beyond arc in each of those games. … UIC’s bench outscored Detroit’s 21-1. The Flames’ reserves have won that battle in each of their last seven games. … The Flames have won nine conference games for the first time since the 2007-08 season when they finished 9-9. … With a win Thursday against Youngstown State, UIC will clinch its first winning record in Horizon League play since 2003-04 – the last time the Flames advanced to the NCAA tournament. … UIC is 4-2 in the Detroit metro area the last two seasons, including two wins at Detroit Mercy, one at Oakland and a win at Joe Louis Arena in the 2017 Horizon League tournament. The tournament is back in Detroit this season at the new Little Caesars Arena.