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Turnovers burn Flames

Oakland takes advantage of 22 UIC giveaways

By Mike Pankow

February 20, 2017

Mike Pankow/Whoosh! file photo

Junior center Tai Odiase recorded his sixth double-double with 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds Sunday against Oakland.

The best things about a team dominated by freshmen are its unbridled passion and high energy, but sometimes that could be the worst things too.

UIC proved it could score plenty Sunday afternoon, drilling 12 3-pointers and utilizing big man Tai Odiase on the inside, but the Flames’ 22 turnovers offset the positives in an 87-75 loss at Oakland.

The freshmen looked to Odiase to shoulder the inside load as the junior center recorded his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting and grabbing a career-best 14 rebounds.

Freshman Tarkus Ferguson and junior Kyle Guice also reached double figures in scoring with 14 and 12 points, respectively, for the Flames (14-14, 7-8 Horizon League), who shot 41.8 percent from the field.

However, the Flames’ passion could also sometimes be construed as reckless abandon as the team surpassed the 20-turnover mark for the seventh time this season. Ferguson, despite his six assists, committed five turnovers.

Freshmen Dominique Matthews and Marcus Ottey, who both have had their share of bright moments this season, combined to shoot 4-for-19 and scored just 12 total points.

The talented Golden Grizzlies (21-7, 11-4), who barely escaped with a 58-57 win on Jan. 8 at the UIC Pavilion, took advantage.

Martez Walker, who struggled in the team’s last meeting, scored a game-high 21 points to lead Oakland. Sherron Dorsey-Walker contributed 17 points and seven assists and Nick Daniels added 17 points for the Grizzlies, who shot 45.8 percent.

Walker scored the last six points of a 12-0 run early in the second half to put Oakland up 50-36 with 15:49 left. At one point, he scored 12 straight Grizzlies points, including three 3-pointers and an old-fashioned three-point play, to keep momentum with the home side.

UIC tried hanging around, but it could get no closer than nine the rest of the way.

The Flames hung close for most of the first half as the bounced back from an early 14-5 deficit. Ferguson, Dominique Matthews and K.J. Santos each knocked down a 3-pointer during a 14-6 run that pulled UIC to within 20-19 with 7:56 left in the first half.

The Grizzlies again took a seven-point lead on a Dorsey-Walker dunk, but UIC closed the half with a small flurry, including a pair of close-in baskets by Odiase to slice the deficit to 38-34 at the break.

Odiase hit a hook on the Flames’ first possession of the second half, but the Flames went nearly the next four minutes without a point as Oakland took control.

FLAMES FLICKERS: Despite the loss, UIC has clinched no worse than the No. 6 seed at the Horizon League tournament because of Detroit's loss to Valparaiso on Sunday. … Santos had a solid floor game for the Flames as the freshman forward scored eight points to go with career highs in rebounds (10) and assists (5). He did have four turnovers though. … Freshman point guard Godwin Boahen is slowing working his way back into the rotation since missing time with lower-body injuries. He hit a 3-pointer in nine minutes of action. … UIC was 12-for-26 from 3-point range, hitting double figures in 3s for the fifth time in six games. The Flames are shooting 43.8 percent (64-for-146) from downtown in that stretch. Ferguson and Guice each matched career highs with four treys apiece. … UIC outrebounded Oakland 40-34 and dished out 19 assists. … The Flames wrap up the regular season with three games over the next week, including Tuesday night’s home finale against Green Bay.

In other recent news:
UIC 74, Detroit 69: Road warriors (2/18/17)
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)