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UIC tops Loyola 61-59 on late layup by Gary Talton

Updated: February 19, 2013 2:22PM

No teams in the Horizon League are as evenly matched as Loyola and UIC.

The teams have mirrored each other in almost every statistic this season, which made the down-to-the-wire finish Wednesday at the Pavilion predictable.

Gary Talton banked in a contested layup with 1.7 seconds left to give the Flames a 61-59 victory. The
result ended UIC’s three-game losing streak and extended the Ramblers’ skid to four games.

‘‘For the third game in a row, we’ve had a great player make a great play against us at the end of a game,’’ Loyola coach Porter Moser
said. ‘‘We have to find a way to make big defensive stops.’’

Talton had only four points in the first half but finished with 14.

‘‘We got the defensive stop [when the Ramblers’ Devon Turk missed a jumper], and [Flames] coach [Howard Moore] put it in my hands,’’ Talton said. ‘‘Coach just opened the floor for me to try to make a play.’’

UIC (11-7, 2-3 Horizon)opened an early 25-13 lead behind center Josh Crittle (12 points, seven ­rebounds), but Loyola pulled to 35-30 at the break, then opened a 42-37 lead early in the second half on the strength of a 10-point scoring burst by swingman Christian Thomas.

‘‘They had scored in their first 10 possessions, and some of that was my fault,’’ said Thomas, who led the Ramblers (10-8, 1-4) with 16 points. ‘‘So I wanted to show the team I’d make up for it.’’

But the Flames rebounded to pull even down the stretch, then got the decisive basket from Talton to
escape with the victory.

‘‘It’s a big Chicago rivalry, and Coach had us ready to go,’’ Talton said.

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