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Flames get outclassed in opener at Notre Dame

By Mike Pankow

November 8, 2018

Mike Pankow/Whoosh!

Marcus Ottey led all scorers against Notre Dame with 17 points on Tuesday night.

Irish eyes were smiling on Notre Dame for most of Tuesday night while UIC was treated rudely in the season opener.

Five players hit double figures while the Fighting Irish dominated at the charity stripe and on the boards in an 84-67 victory at the Joyce Center at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind.

Nate Laszewski barely missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench as a young Notre Dame squad outrebounded the Flames 51-35. UIC’s starting frontcourt of Jordan Blount and Travell Washington were shut out on the glass in a combined 36 minutes of action.

The Irish (1-0) were nearly perfect at the free-throw line, hitting 36 of 38 attempts, while the Flames were awarded just 20 tries, making 13.

Notre Dame exhibited exquisite balance as Robby Carmody scored 11 points while John Mooney, D.J. Harvey and Dane Goodwin each chipped in 10 points in the first-ever meeting between the schools.

Junior guard Marcus Ottey led all scorers with 17 points for the Flames (0-1), who are beginning the season on a three-game road trip. Tarkus Ferguson had 12 points for UIC while Blount and Godwin Boahen each added 10.

UIC trailed just 20-15 after a 7-0 run that was sparked Godwin Boahen’s 3-pointer, but the Irish answered with 10 straight points and they never led by fewer than double digits for the rest of the night.

“I was very concerned (facing) an older team in UIC and city guards,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “But our defense certainly was certainly a key to get us started and I loved how we drove the ball.”

Notre Dame led by as many as 36 at 76-40 with 8:48 left.

“They came out and punched us early and we didn’t handle that very well, and that kind of set the tone for the game,” UIC coach Steve McClain said. “I thought watching them in their exhibition, (Notre Dame’s) young players really took a big jump from the exhibition to tonight.”

While not always efficient, the Flames played hard until the final buzzer, ending the game on a 16-2 run and hopefully building some moment for their next game Friday night at Radford.

FLAMES FLICKERS: In the end, UIC outshot Notre Dame 37.5 percent to 35.5 percent. … Neither team shot well from 3-point range, hovering around 20 percent for the game. The Flames were 6-for-29 and the Irish were 4-for-22. … After six early turnovers, UIC finished with just 13 for the game while Notre Dame committed 16. … Four Flames made their Division I debuts in the game, led by junior forward Rob Howard’s five points and three rebounds. Freshman Washington also had five points while sophomore guard Jamie Ahale scored four points and redshirt freshman swingman Ralph Bissainthe was scoreless in six minutes. … The game drew 6,462 fans, well under capacity. … Without the graduated Tai Odiase and Clint Robinson manning the middle, the Flames didn’t record a single blocked shot.

In other recent news:
Exhibition: UIC 81, Illinois Wesleyan 60: Flames pass test (11/5/18)
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)