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Road warriors

Flames start critical stretch with win at Detroit

By Mike Pankow

February 18, 2017

Mike Pankow/Whoosh! file photo

Freshman Tarkus Ferguson scored 20 points Friday night in the Flames’ victory over Detroit.

UIC is starting to dig these road trips.

Freshman Tarkus Ferguson scored 20 points and redshirt freshman Dominique Matthews added 19 on Friday night as the Flames won their fifth road game of the season with a 74-69 win at Detroit.

Ferguson scored seven of his team’s last nine points as the Flames (14-13, 7-7) improved to 4-2 on the road in Horizon League play. Matthews was strong in the first half, scoring 15 points in helping UIC to a one-point halftime lead.

UIC trailed by eight in each half in a contest that featured seven ties and nine lead changes. It was a key victory in a late-season stretch that features five games in 10 days, including four on the road.

The Flames went ahead for good when freshman K.J. Santos faked a 3-pointer from the left corner, drove the baseline and hit a nifty layup for a 63-62 edge with 3:54 left.

Ferguson hit a critical 3-pointer – his career-high fourth of the night – for a 70-64 with a 1:43 left.

Another freshman, Corey Allen, whose 21 points and five 3-pointers led the Titans (6-20, 4-10), answered with a four-point play to slice the deficit to 70-68 with 1:35 to go.

The Flames closed the game by making four of six from the free-throw line as Detroit got no closer.

The Titans opened a 23-15 lead midway through the first half as Cole Long and DeShawndre Black capped a 7-0 run with 3-pointers.

UIC countered with a 17-5 capped by 3-pointers by Kyle Guice and Matthews for a 32-28 lead with 4:14 before the half.

Ferguson scored on a driving layup with 6 seconds left in the first half as the Flames took a 35-34 lead into the locker room.

Detroit started the second half on a 10-1 run, aided by seven points by Josh McFolley, for a 44-36 lead with 16:28 remaining.

Clint Robinson (eight points, eight rebounds) had a pair of dunks and Santos hit a go-ahead 3-pointer during a 15-3 run as UIC regained the lead at 51-47 with 10:41 left and it was a seesaw game for the next several minutes.

FLAMES FLICKERS: Freshman guard Godwin Boahen (lower body) returned after missing the Flames’ last two games. He only played three first half-minutes and didn’t register any stats. … Freshman Marcus Ottey had eight points and six assists off the bench. … A minor scuffle between Robinson and Detroit big man Jaleel Hogan resulted in technical fouls on both players with 14:32 left. … The Flames recorded a season-high 12 blocked shots, including five by Odiase and three by Robinson. It was one shy of the Flames’ record of 13, which was set on Jan. 16, 1993 against Northeastern Illinois. … UIC made double-digit 3-pointers for the fourth time in the last five games and is shooting 43.3 percent (52-for-120) over that stretch. … The Flames have won four conference road games for the first time since the 2005-06 season when they also had four.

In other recent news:
Matthews honored by Horizon League (2/15/17)
Cleveland State 66, UIC 63: Chill in the air (2/13/17)
UIC 84, Youngstown State 81: Flames overcome Morse (2/10/17)
UIC 105, Milwaukee 100 (OT): Ferguson takes over (2/5/17)
Green Bay 84, UIC 80: Faltering late (2/3/17)
Wright State 88, UIC 86: Not quite enough (1/30/17)
Northern Kentucky 79, UIC 62: Horror show (1/28/17)
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)