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UIC basketball can’t match Valparaiso’s firepower down stretch in 75-70 loss

Updated: January 10, 2013 12:25AM

UIC coach Howard Moore says he’s not concerned with the aesthetics of a game because when his defense plays well, the Flames will have a chance to win every night.

But when UIC’s defense isn’t consistent and the Flames get into an offensive slugfest, odd are they’ll get knocked out.

After a tough defensive effort in the first half of their game against Valparaiso at the UIC Pavilion Wednesday night, the Flames went soft in the second half and failed to close out on a good-shooting Crusaders team in a 75-70 loss.

“The second half they just imposed their will on us and unfortunately we didn’t have enough at the end to sustain their run,” Moore said.

“The bottom line is they really ran their stuff well, they got shots for the guys that they needed to get shots for and we just didn’t handle it.”

The Flames took a three-point deficit (33-30) into halftime despite shooting 39.3 percent from the field in the first half, staying in the game by holding the Crusaders to 42.9 percent shooting.

UIC was able to carry its effort into the early stages of the second half when the Flames appeared as if they had taken control of the game.

After Valparaiso (12-5, 2-1) took a five-point lead with the first basket of the second half, the Flames (10-6, 1-2) went on a 13-0 run.

But the Crusaders quickly turned their fortunes on the shoulders of reigning Horizon League Player of the Year Ryan Broekhoff and Kevin Van Wijk in a second half during which Valparaiso shot 56.5 percent from the field.

“I think we ran the plays that we wanted and we actually executed them, [the shots] just didn’t fall,” said Flames guard Gary Talton, who had a game-high 25 points.

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