Updated: January 10, 2013 6:44AM
With UIC in a struggle, 7-foot sophomore Will Simonton provided the spark off the bench that the Flames needed in a 64-55 victory Saturday over Colorado State at the UIC Pavilion.
Josh Crittle was in foul trouble, so Simonton played 22 minutes, scored six points and grabbed three rebounds. But it was his intensity that was most valuable — something even Crittle said he fed off of just by watching.
“Just come off the bench and try to give energy, just helping give Josh a breather,” Simonton said.
“Just coming in and doing whatever the team needs.”
Colorado State (6-2) led by eight in the second half thanks to post players Greg Smith and Colton Iverson, who helped the Rams outrebound the Flames 44-31.
With the Flames (8-1) down five with 11:06 left, Simonton drew a charge on Smith that drew the ire of Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy. He was hit with a technical foul that initiated an 18-7 run, which helped the Flames take the lead for good.
Gary Talton led the Flames with 20 points.
“That was a tremendous effort [by Simonton], just coming in and being hungry to help this team get this ‘W,’ and he was all over the place,” UIC coach Howard Moore said.