Whoosh! Net News

Sluggish night

Flames offense futile in loss to NKU

By Mike Pankow

January 1, 2019

Mike Pankow/Whoosh!

UIC forward Jacob Wiley scored a career-high 12 points against Northern Kentucky on Sunday evening.

Seeking to build on their momentum from its thrilling overtime win at Wright State, UIC looked for a 2-0 start in Horizon League play against another conference heavyweight Sunday evening.

The Flames couldn't get their offense untracked and Northern Kentucky finally took advantage with Jalen Tate's career-high 25 points leading the host Norse to a 73-58 victory at BB&T Arena.

The Flames (7-8, 1-1 Horizon League) led 14-10 after Godwin Boahen's 3-pointer, but couldn't pull away after NKU's slow start.

Tate scored 22 of his points in the first half as the Norse (12-3, 2-0) finally figured things out. His 3-pointer gave NKU the lead for good at 18-16 with 10:22 left in the first half.

Dantez Walton (15 points) hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 9-0 spurt that put the Norse up double digits. NKU pushed the advantage to 44-28 at the break while holding UIC to 30.4 percent shooting in the first half.

Drew McDonald, whom the Flames schemed well against for most of the game, hit a free throw, for a 64-46 lead with 7:54 remaining in the game.

McDonald shot just 4-for-16 from the field, but he finished with 19 points (10 on free throws) and a career-best 20 rebounds.

Marcus Ottey and Tarkus Ferguson converted back-to-back three-point plays to pull the Flames to within 65-57 with 5:32 remaining, but UIC didn't hit a field goal for the rest of the game.

Ottey finished with 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting to lead the Flames, who saw their three-game winning streak overall and eight-game Horizon League road winning streak end. Sophomore forward Jacob Wiley scored a career-high 12 points on 3-for-3 shooting and 6-for-6 on free throws to go with seven rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.

FLAMES FLICKERS: UIC committed just 10 turnovers, but just shot 36.5 percent from the field, 20 percent from 3-point range and was outrebounded 46-27. ... Ferguson finished with eight points and seven rebounds. ... Boahen made a 3-pointer in his 33rd straight game. ... Forward Jordan Blount fouled out for the second straight game. ... UIC's Rob Howard returned after missing the last two games after battling effects of the flu. He had three points and two rebounds in eight minutes. ... Sophomore Michael Diggins made his second straight start and his third overall this season.

In other recent news:
UIC 75, Wright State 72 (OT): The few, the proud (12/29/18)
UIC 76, St. Francis (Joliet) 55: Getting back on track (12/26/18)
UIC 63, Incarnate Word 57: Good half just good enough (12/19/18)
DePaul 90, UIC 70: One extreme to another (12/15/18)
Colorado 84, UIC 72: All fouled up (12/11/18)
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)