Flames win 3rd straight after late burst
By Mike Pankow
November 27, 2018
The Flames (3-3) had a 15-point lead in the first half, but had to rally from a six-point, second-half deficit for a 94-74 victory over Division II UW-Parkside.
Marcus Ottey scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half to lead UIC's game-closing 42-16 surge to finally subdue the Rangers, who were playing this contest as an exhibition.
Godwin Boahen drained five 3-pointers and ended up with 19 points while Rob Howard added 15 points and Jacob Wiley contributed a career-high 10 points and seven rebounds in just under 13 minutes of action for the Flames, who won their third straight.
"We did a little bit of a scouting report (on Parkside), but to be honest, we've been working on St. Joe’s for a week," UIC coach Steve McClain said. "I give the kids credit, they kept fighting. It's a great learning lesson. We got down a little bit and they found a way to fight back. You go from being down six to winning by 20. That's a good turnaround."
UIC appeared to be well on its way to a laugher, hitting 7 of its first 8 attempts from 3-point range to take a 27-12 lead with 12:46 left in the first half. Boahen hit three trifectas, Jamie Ahale knocked down two while Ottey and Howard also scored from downtown.
But inexplicably, the Flames went ice cold, going over seven minutes without a field goal as the Rangers chipped away.
Brandon Trimble (16 points) converted a steal into a layup with 44.9 seconds left before halftime as Parkside took a 35-34 lead. After D'Aaron Evans hit a layup for a 37-36 edge, Boahen knocked down his fourth 3-pointer of the half at the buzzer as UIC escaped the first half with a 39-37 lead.
"We started the game off the way we wanted to," UIC coach Steve McClain said. "We were hitting the paint and kicking it. Then we hit a space where we weren't doing either one."
The start of the second half saw the Rangers come out on fire, piercing the Flames with layups and 3-pointers. Trimble hit four straight free throws to put Parkside ahead 58-52 with 12:48 left and a visibly-upset McClain shed his jacket.
Then McClain turned the hounds loose, unleashing a trapping, pressure defense that confounded Parkside with the Flames' athletic advantage and length.
McClain isn't about to turn his defense into 40 minutes of hell, but he said he will employ the trap in spots when needed.
"It's good at times," he said. "You can do that when you know you turn people over. Against high-level guards, you can do it and slow them down but to do 10-15 minutes straight, you're going to give up baskets on the other end. We put that lineup in there with (Ottey and Michael Diggins) and it sparked us."
UIC outscored the Rangers by 26 points in the final 12 minutes to finally pull away. Ottey relentlessly drove the ball inside for layups and the Flames took advantage of Parkside turnovers for more easy baskets.
"We decided to get our defense going," Ottey said. "At the start of the game, we started off pretty good defensively, putting pressure on the rim. Then there was a stretch where didn't have anything going. In the second half, we just knew we had to attack the rim, moving the ball, hitting the paint and putting pressure on the defensive end."
FLAMES FLICKERS: UIC's Tarkus Ferguson shot just 2-for-8 from the field, but he finished with nine points, eight assists, two steals and two blocked shots. ... Starting forward Jordan Blount played limited minutes for the second straight game because of foul trouble. ... Ottey and Boahen combined to shoot 16-for-24 for the game, including 6-for-11 from 3-point range. ... UIC committed a season-low 11 turnovers.