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Talton delivers with late three to lift UIC basketball

Updated: January 2, 2014 6:01PM

UIC coach Howard Moore has made it clear to his team that the opportunity has passed for the Flames to sneak up on anyone.

Having won big nonconference games, UIC will be taken more seriously, a point Moore wanted to make not to boost his team’s confidence, but to prepare it.

That preparedness showed in the Flames’ 65-60 victory over Youngstown State in their Horizon League opener Wednesday at the UIC Pavilion.

With his team trailing by two with 36 seconds left, Flames point guard Gary Talton had a wild layup blocked out of bounds. But Talton was able to stay composed on the ensuing inbounds play, and he hit a three-pointer that gave UIC the lead for good.

UIC broke a three-game losing streak and moved to 6-0 at home.

“The main thing Coach teaches us is to be poised in every situation,” Talton said. “I don’t think we press because Coach does a tremendous job of preparing us in practice for these types of situations.”

Throughout the game, the Penguins (8-6, 0-1) tried to push the pace. Having anticipated that, Moore had the Flames (10-4, 1-0) apply full-court pressure at times.

It wasn’t an attempt to create turnovers. It was to force the Penguins to play against the Flames’ half-court defense, which has been excellent.

“That’s how they play,” Moore said. “We know that they’re a very high-octane team. They really like to get out and push, threes in transition. We knew we had to try and slow them down.”

Youngstown State jumped out to an eight-point lead early in the first half. That was largely due to UIC’s inability to get the ball into the post.

But throughout the second half, Flames big men Josh Crittle and Hayden Humes touched the ball on nearly every possession. Crittle finished with 14 points, Humes with 15 and Talton led all scorers with 19.

“Our record has people really excited to play us, and that’s something we’re adjusting to,” Moore said. “It’s a new position for UIC, but we embrace it.”

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