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Another big lead goes poof

St. Joe's rallies from double-digit hole

By Mike Pankow

November 30, 2018

Mike Pankow/Whoosh!

Tarkus Ferguson had 23 points and 10 rebounds for UIC against St. Joseph's on Wednesday night.

For the second time this season, UIC relinquished a double-digit lead on the road against an Atlantic-10 opponent.

Despite leading by as many as 13 points, the Flames wilted in the second half as Lamarr Kimble and St. Joseph's completely turned the tide in an 89-75 victory on Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

The Flames (3-4) also led by 14 at Duquesne on Nov. 12 before falling in overtime.

For about 25-30 minutes, UIC executed the offense, moving the ball and finding the open shooter while getting timely before everything changed.

Tarkus Ferguson bounced back from a relatively quiet game against UW-Parkside to lead the Flames with 23 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Marcus Ottey added 17 points, four assists and three steals.

Kimble scored 24 of his career-high 31 points in the second half to lead the Hawks (4-3), who snapped a three-game winning streak.

The Flames started well as Jordan Blount (14 points) scored the first five points of the game. By the time Michael Diggins scored in the lane in the final seconds of the first half, UIC had extended its lead to 40-32 at the break.

Four different Flames hit 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half, including Ferguson, Blount, Godwin Boahen and freshman Travell Washington, and Diggins hit a free throw as UIC took a 55-42 lead with 15:39 left.

The Hawks countered with a 12-0 run to slice the deficit to just one in the matter of about three minutes.

Boahen hit a 3-pointer with 6:35 remaining as the Flames trailed just 69-68, but UIC missed its next five shots -- all from 3-point range -- and the Hawks went on another 12-0 run to go up 81-68 on two free throws by Jared Bynum with 2:16 left, effectively sealing the game.

FLAMES FLICKERS: Washington, the Flames' freshman center hit two 3-pointers en route to a career-high seven points. ... After playing just a combined 32 minutes in his previous two games due to foul trouble, Blount logged 25 minutes against St. Joe's. ... UIC hit 11 3-pointers and has made at least nine in every game except the season opener at Notre Dame (6). ... Junior forward Rob Howard and sophomore guard Jamie Ahale each went scoreless for the first time in seven games this season. ... The Hawks were 36-for-41 on free throws while UIC was jsut 12-for-16. ... St. Joe's put up 57 points in the second half, the most allowed by the Flames in a half this season. ... The Flames return to Credit Union 1 Arena on Saturday to face Loyola, looking to break a five-game losing streak in the series against last year's Cinderella Final Four squad.

In other recent news:
UIC 94, UW-Parkside 74: Roller-coaster ride (11/27/18)
UIC 71, Bradley 70: Tired Flames find a way (11/22/18)
UIC 100, William & Mary 95 (OT): Extra mile-stone (11/16/18)
Duquesne 89, UIC 88 (OT): Late letdown leaves Flames winless (11/13/18)
Radford 88, UIC 78: Road doesn’t get easier (11/11/18)
Notre Dame 84, UIC 67: Just no answer (11/8/18)
Exhibition: UIC 81, Illinois Wesleyan 60: Flames pass test (11/5/18)