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Flames pass test

UIC gets solid exhibition win

By Mike Pankow

November 5, 2018

Mike Pankow/Whoosh!

UIC’s Jordan Blount had 17 points and 11 rebounds against Illinois Wesleyan.

Former SPIRE Academy teammates Jordan Blount and Marcus Ottey put together big second halves as UIC pulled away from Illinois Wesleyan 81-60 to win its lone exhibition game Thursday night at the Pavilion.

Blount finished with a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds and even got a little floor burn while hustling for a loose ball.

"(Blount has) got to do what he does,” UIC coach Steve McClain said. “Our fast break gets a lot better when he can rebound and we’re coming at you.”

Ottey finished with 11 points and a team-high six assists.

Tarkus Ferguson scored 15 points, Godwin Boahen had 11 and newcomer Rob Howard added 10 to round out the double-figure scorers for the Flames, who open the regular season schedule against Notre Dame on Tuesday to mark the start of a four-game “Gotham Classic” round robin tournament.

UIC had a slow start on the glass and with its interior defense against a smaller IWU squad, but ended up outrebounding the Division III Titans 44-40.

“I think we’re like all teams in the country right now,” McClain said. “Your defense is ahead of your offense. Offensively, what you do in practice may seem OK, but then you play a different opponent, it’s a whole different deal out there. With the rebounding, I’m more concerned about our guards aren’t getting the rebounds they should get. Those are things we can fix.”

The Flames have an ambitious schedule, starting with three straight road games, including games at Notre Dame, Radford and Duquesne.

McClain felt the challenge of the Titans was good test for UIC heading into the first three contests.

“This is probably the hardest exhibition I’ve scheduled,” McClain said. “They’re ranked in the Top 20 in the country in Division III. They’re a tradition-rich program. They expect to win. I did it on purpose. This group’s got to grow up fast. They’ve got a lot of hard games coming, so they needed a game where they had to fight.”

POSTGAME VIDEO:

In other recent news:
CIT: Northern Colorado 76, UIC 71: So close (4/3/18)
CIT: UIC 67, Liberty 51: One step away (3/29/18)
CIT: UIC 83, Austin Peay 81: Boahen silent but deadly (3/22/18)
CIT: UIC 84, Saint Francis (Pa.) 61: Sharing the wealth (3/16/18)
Dixson makes it official: Off to the pros (3/16/18)
Season extended: Flames invited to CIT (3/13/18)