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UIC has no answer for LaVonte Dority in loss to Valpo

Bryce Drew can empathize with Howard Moore. He knows that coaches just draw up the plays. They don’t execute them.

Valparaiso had just defeated UIC 70-46 on Saturday at the Pavilion. The light at the end of the tunnel is a distant flicker for the Flames. They have lost 12 in a row, they’re 0-9 in Horizon League play and they’re 5-18 overall.

Drew knows with a made shot here or there, it could’ve been a different outcome. The backward streak could’ve ended if it weren’t for one very hot player.

UIC was torched by LaVonte Dority, a Foreman High School graduate. He scored a career-high 33 points, making shots of varying degrees of difficulty from every spot on the floor.

“To be honest, the big difference was LaVonte Dority,” Drew said. “He goes 10-for-15, and [the Flames’] Kelsy Barlow goes 3-for-12. Barlow had some better looks than LaVonte did. At the end of the day, it boils down to guys making shots.”

Dority shot 5-for-6 from three-point range. In his last two games, he has 59 points, going 7-for-9 from three-point range. Dority also guarded Barlow, the Flames’ leading scorer, and helped hold him to eight points.

Moore was asked if it was “kind of difficult” for his team to stop Dority.

“It was kind of difficult, very difficult, difficult,” he said. “He’s a helluva player.”

The game got out of hand for UIC near the end of the first half.

Leading 29-23 with 2:45 left, the Crusaders went on a 7-0 run before halftime. An NBA-range three-pointer for Dority at the buzzer gave Valpo a 36-23 lead. The Flames were never closer than 13 points the rest of the way.

Moore said his team won’t stop playing hard.

“We will keep battling,” he said. “It’s a matter of playing smarter. I though we were careless with the basketball and we let them score in transition.”

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