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All fouled up

Whistles stymie Flames at Colorado

By Mike Pankow

December 11, 2018

Mike Pankow/Whoosh!

UIC forward Jordan Blount, left, scored 20 points Saturday against Colorado.

Marcus Ottey and Jordan Blount combined to shoot 19-for-27 from the field as UIC made 56.6 percent of its field goals Saturday night in a road game against a Power-5 school.

All that and it wasn't good enough for a victory. In fact, the Flames lost by double digits.

An astonishing nine offensive fouls were called against UIC on charges and illegal screens, a bulk of the Flames' season-worst 24 turnovers in an 84-72 loss to Colorado in Boulder, Colo.

Ottey scored a game-high 22 points and Blount added 20 points to lead the Flames (4-6), who never led but remained within striking distance until the final seconds.

Godwin Boahen added 15 points, including three 3-pointers, but he was taken out of the game midway through the second half when he was whistled for his fourth foul on a charge. Boahen incredulously skipped down the court in frustration and showed emotion rarely seen from the junior guard from Toronto.

"I think most nights if you have three to four guys in double figures you're about where you should be in a high-level game," UIC coach Steve McClain told the media after the game.

McKinley Wright scored 21 points and handed out nine assists while Tyler Bey had 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Buffaloes (7-1).

The Flames trailed 73-62 with 4:33 after a 3-pointer by the Buffs' D'Shawn Schwartz, but UIC showed its resolve, as it did all game long, by making one last run.

Boahen knocked down a 3-pointer to slice UIC's deficit to 74-70 with 3:17 remaining. After a turnover, the Flames had a golden opportunity to make it a one-possession game, but Tarkus Ferguson, who played his worst game of the season, missed a 3-pointer with 2:40 left.

The Buffaloes responded with eight straight points and the Flames' chances of a serious upset came to an end.

After recording the school's second triple-double Ferguson in a 19-point victory over Illinois State, the junior guard had his second straight bad shooting night. He finished with just three points on 1-for-8 from the field and committed six turnovers.

Blount ended an amazing week after scoring a career-high 27 points with five steals against Illinois State. The bruising junior forward from Cork, Ireland, ended up averaging 23.5 points for the week and shot a blistering 71.4 percent from the field.

"I kind of wanted to make a statement," Blount told the media in Colorado. "Not just for me but the rest of the guys as well. Let everyone know that we should be here. Obviously we wanted to win and we're quite upset, but I think we changed a few people's minds about who we are and the identity that we're trying to go forward with."

FLAMES FLICKERS: It was homecoming of sorts for McClain, who served as associate head coach at Colorado under former coach Jeff Bzdelik, a UIC alumnus. ... The Flames fell to 0-5 on the road this season after winning nine of their final 10 road contests last season. ... Sophomore forward Michael Diggins had six points and seven rebounds off the bench for UIC. ... The Flames were called for 28 fouls compared to 17 for Colorado. UIC sophomore forward Jacob Wiley fouled out in just 4 minutes, 24 seconds of action. ... The Buffaloes were 25-for-33 on free throws while UIC was just 6-for-10.

In other recent news:
UIC 94, Illinois State 75: Complete effort (12/6/18)
Loyola 73, UIC 64: Crosstown quandary (12/4/18)
St. Joseph's 89, UIC 75: Another big lead goes poof (11/30/18)
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)