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Road run stopped

VIKINGS END FLAMESí WIN STREAK AT 2

February 16, 2015

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Senior Ahman Fells scored 17 points, including five 3-pointers, in Sundayís loss at Cleveland State.

After two impressive road victories, UICís express was derailed in Cleveland on Sunday.

The Flames shot over 54 percent in wins at Detroit and Wright State, but the hard-nosed hosts from Cleveland State displayed their usual tough defense.

Trey Lewis scored 18 points and Anton Grady added nine points, 13 rebounds and six of his teamís 11 blocks as the Vikings (16-11, 10-3 Horizon League) held UIC to 28.1 percent shooting in a 67-59 win at the Wolstein Center.

Despite the Flamesí poor shooting, the teamís grit kept them close for much of the game. UIC outrebounded CSU 41-30, including 23-6 on the offensive end, and converted 17 points off 10 Vikings turnovers.

Junior point guard Paris Burns scored 17 points to go with five rebounds and five assists while shooting 10-for-10 on free throws to lead the Flames (7-20, 3-9), who led by as many as five and held a 34-30 lead at halftime. Senior guard Ahman Fells also finished with 17 points, including five 3-pointers.

Markese McGuire scored five straight points, including a follow of a Jay Harris miss, as UIC grabbed a 14-9 lead about six minutes into the game.

Vinny Zollo hit a 3-pointer as the Vikings surged ahead 23-18 before the Flames answered back with eight straight points, including back-to-back 3s by Harris and Fells, for a 26-23 lead.

The Flames pulled ahead 34-30 at the break after two free throws by Tai Odiase. Burns finished the first half with 12 points, including 7-for-7 from the line.

Fells drilled a 3-pointer as UIC went up 37-32 with 17:20 remaining. However, the Flames went cold, making just two field goals in a 10-minute span.

The Vikings, in the process of shooting 65 percent from the field in the second half, grabbed the lead at 41-39 on Kaza Keaneís layup and pushed their advantage to double digits with a 21-6 run. Lewis scored three straight CSU baskets to extend the lead to 53-43 with 9:11 to go.

Odiase hit a layup as UIC pulled within 53-47 with 7:06 remaining, but the Vikings responded with seven consecutive points to go ahead 60-47 on Marlin Masonís dunk with 5:07 to play.

Fells drained three consecutive 3-pointers to pull the Flames within 60-56 with 2:22 showing, but Charlie Lee hit a pair of free throws and Mason threw down another dunk as CSU built an eight-point edge.

Burns hit two free throws with 1:10 remaining to pull UIC back within 64-59. After a miss by Grady, Burnsí layup attempt was blocked by Lewis with 29 seconds remaining and CSU closed out the win by hitting three of four from the line.

FLAMES FLICKERS: CSU has won 16 of the last 17 meetings in the series with the only Flamesí win coming in the 2013 Horizon League tournament opening round at the UIC Pavilion. The Vikings have swept the regular-season series for seven straight years. Ö Fells finished 5-of-9 from 3-point range and is now shooting 63 percent (17-for-27) on 3-pointers over the last six games. Fells is also averaging 13.4 points per game in conference contests after posting 2.7 ppg in non-conference affairs. Ö Burns has now scored 14 or more points in his last seven games and is averaging 17.4 points per contest during that span. Ö Odiase is showing a little bit more with each passing game since returning from a stress fracture in his leg. He had six points on 2-for-2 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line to go with three rebounds and a block in 13 minutes. Ö The Vikingsí Charlie Lee continued to be a nuisance to the Flames, scoring nine points and dishing out eight assists in 37 minutes.

In other recent news:
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UIC 83, Detroit 73: Motown hit (2/9/15)
Oakland 91, UIC 77: Loss simply indefensible (2/6/15)
Miller steps away from program (2/4/15)
Valparaiso 70, UIC 65: Valpo still has Flamesí number (2/2/15)
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Youngstown State 77, UIC 64: Not enough juice (1/26/15)
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Detroit 69, UIC 68: Red-faced (1/16/15)