Losing night for Chicago in Ohio
Whether it's a close loss or a blowout the result is the same - a loss. Both UIC and Loyola suffered tough defeats on Thursday night in Ohio.
UIC dropped a 71-69 game at Youngstown State. It was another one that came down to a last-second play and unfortunately the Flames weren't able to make them all down the stretch. While Paul Carter hit a clutch jump shot to give UIC a 69-68 lead, the Penguins got two points from Vytas Sulskis free throws and Robo Kreps couldn't make a floater on the Flames' last real chance.
This continues a disturbing trend for the Flames, who already had suffered close losses to Akron, Valparaio and Northern Illinois. While Howard Moore's team did get close wins over Toledo and Illinois, you'd want to see the team try and build some leads earlier in the game in order to avoid situations like this.
In another continuation of disturbing trends Loyola was blown out by Cleveland State, 73-55. The Ramblers got down big early and were unable to recover in the blowout loss. Loyola is now down to 0-3 in conference play. Also, no Rambler scored in double-figures as a ton of players got extra minutes due to the circumstances of the score.
Some other notes from the UIC game, which I ended up watching a lot of due to the blowout nature of the Loyola contest.
- Dipanjot Singh played 19 minutes and scored six points. He had one assist and one turnover. It was the first significant minutes that Singh has gotten all season and it was unexpected. The Flames' live-blog said that he'd earned the playing time in practice. He did play well during his time on the court, which could help add depth to the Flames' rotation.
- Still, Carter only played 27 minutes, but he did score 19 points and had three assists. He was consistently the best player on the court for the Flames. Hopefully he'll be ready to go come Saturday.
- The other bright spot was Darrin Williams, well except for his six turnovers. Williams did score 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in 28 minutes. He used his big body well in the paint against the smaller Penguins squad.
- It seems like Brad Birton really likes playing in Horizon League games. He hadn't scored in double-figures since the Valparaiso game and then he went 4-5 from the field and scored 10 points. He also guarded Sulski for most of the game and finished 3-7 with 11 points.
That win in an individual match up should've been enough for the Flames to pull out the victory, but unfortunately UIC allowed the Penguins to shoot 12-25 from the field and got torched by Ashen Ward, who scored a career-high 26 points.
It's now onto Saturday for both these teams as they'll try to find the W that was missing tonight.