BIG OFFENSIVE DAY HELPS FLAMES SNAP 8-GAME SKID
February 9, 2015
The Flames found impeccable offensive efficiency while snapping an eight-game losing streak and an 11-game road skid in an 83-73 win over Detroit at Calihan Hall.
After two consecutive scoreless outings, senior guard Marc Brown exploded for 22 points on 9-for-10 shooting to lead four players in double figures for the Flames (6-19, 2-8 Horizon League), who shot a season-high 58.7 percent.
Fifth-year senior Jay Harris contributed 15 of his 19 points in the second half, in which UIC used a 19-3 run to grab control down the stretch. Junior point guard Paris Burns chipped in 18 and sophomore guard Markese McGuire added 14 points – all in the first half.
“The win feels good but I am more pleased with how we decided to play together as a team,” UIC coach Howard Moore said. “These players are starting to figure out that we are a better team than our record shows and we can play with anybody in the league. There is a lot of basketball left to play and as long as we keep playing with urgency down the stretch anything can happen.”
Juwan Howard Jr. and Jarod Williams each scored 18 points to lead the Titans (11-15, 4-7), who stole a 69-68 win in the first meeting between these teams at the UIC Pavilion on Jan. 8.
After trailing by as many as nine points in the first half, the Titans took a 63-58 lead on Williams' layup with 8:33 left in the game. But Brown answered with a 3-pointer on the Flames' next possession to start the game-turning run.
Brown scored on a putback as the Flames wrested away the lead at 65-64 with 7:08 remaining. Burns followed with trey for a four-point advantage.
Brown hit a 19-footer at the shot-clock buzzer for an eight-point edge, then Harris hit the dagger, a 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:45 to play, for a 77-66 lead and helped the Flames slam the door on their first win in Detroit since Jan. 22, 2009.
"We turned it on and off in spots and you can't do that in this league," Detroit coach Ray McCallum said. "You don't win just on potential. Their ability to spread us out and attack us on ball screens was a problem for us."
McGuire was key to UIC's surge in the first half. He hit a pair of 3-pointers and converted a layup off a steal during a 12-4 run as UIC took a 34-26 lead with 4:17 left in the opening half.
Jason McClellan drilled a 3-pointer as the Flames grabbed a nine-point advantage before the Titans' Matthew Grant hit a jumper at the buzzer to cut the score to 43-36 at half.
McGuire was 4-for-4 from 3-point range while scoring a team-high 14 points in the first half for the Flames, who shot 69.6 percent from the field in the period. It was the second straight strong game for McGuire.
“He is playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Moore said of McGuire. “He’s another one of those guys who was inserted into the lineup because of his defense and hustle. Now you are seeing his offense come around after he started focusing on the right things.”
FLAMES FLICKERS: Burns scored 11 of his 18 points in the first half and finished with a team-high five assists. Since D'Juan Miller left the team, Burns has averaged 17 points and 5.3 assists over the last four games. “I thought Paris did a great job of running the team,” Moore said. “He showed a lot of leadership and was very vocal today.” ... Senior guard Ahman Fells, who averaged 22.3 points in the previous three games, scored just two points Sunday, but the Flames had plenty of other contributions. ... UIC shot 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from three-point range, including McGuire's 4-for-6 effort and Brown's 3-for-3 performance. Five Flames hit at least one 3-pointer. ... Sunday's win was just the Flames' fourth all-time at Calihan Hall in 21 meetings. UIC previously won there in 1997, 2007 and 2009.