Men's basketball slow start costly against UIC

Freshman guard drives down the court after a steal Dec. 11 in McGuirk Arena

Pressure from the Chippewas sent University Illinois-Chicago to commit multiple turnovers in a row, sending the crowd into a roar and giving the Chippewas momentum to close in on UIC’s lead. 

CMU has yet again proven to be a second half team, down by 12 at the half to come back within two points with 17 seconds left. 

Despite battling back, the Chippewas ultimately fell to the Flames 71-67 for their seventh-straight loss. 

The loss drops CMU to 1-9 on the season as they now go on an eight-day hiatus for finals week. UIC improves to 3-6.

“I thought we lost tonight because we ran out of time, not because we just let go of the rope and stopped fighting,” said head coach Tony Barbee. “That is a positive, but you got to think about who I got on the floor for the majority of the second half and what happened to the score when those guys are out there, good things happen.” 

The Chippewas were once again without Jermain Jackson Jr. This time the Chippewas were missing another key asset, Andre Polk and Miroslav Stafl with a knee injury after Wednesday's game against Youngstown State. There is no timetable set for Stafl's return.

Brian Taylor was sent the line to make it a five-point game with less than two minutes to play. UIC did not lead up as they continued to up the lead. 

Freshman Kevin Miller fired right back with a three-point play to keep them in arms reach at 67-64. With half a second left on the clock, Miller went up for one last shot from beyond the arc that wouldn’t even come close as the buzzer rang.

UIC took charge on the court by taking an early lead and flying by taking a lead of 14 in the first half. The Flames outscored the Chippewas 40-32 going. CMU was challenged early as they were forced to play catch up in the second half.

The Chippewas brought the heat in the second half, outsourcing the Flames the whole 20 minutes.  The Chippewas held the Flames to 29 percent shooting in the second half. Strong efforts from the Chippewas brought them back into the game to make the last 8 minutes of the game a battle for both teams.

Junior guard Oscar Lopez Jr. had a game-best of 17 points and had a game-best of seven rebounds. Lopez fouled out three minutes to play. Ralph Bissainthe and Miller both finished the game with 15 points. Bassainthe ended the game with six rebounds. Miller and Bassainthe both had two steals 

UIC's Kevin Johnson had a team-best of 14 points, four rebounds and four assists. Michael Diggins had a team-best of seven rebounds. 

Both teams shot 40.0 percent from the floor and committed 13 turnovers. The flames scored 11 points off the Chippewas turnovers.  

The Chippewas will go back on the road to face the Detroit Mercy Titans at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19 at Calihan Hall.