Loyola nips UIC, keyed by hot shooting in second half
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter December 7, 2013 9:36PM
Updated: January 9, 2014 10:02AM
They no longer are conference rivals, but the intensity of play between Loyola and UIC didn’t change Saturday in a seesaw game at the Gentile Arena that came down to one possession.
Kelsey Barlow’s attempt on a tying three-pointer with seconds left fell short for UIC, giving Loyola a 73-70 comeback victory for crosstown bragging rights.
“It feels like a rivalry any time you play against another school from Chicago,’’ Loyola’s Christian Thomas (14 points, seven rebounds) said.
“I’m familiar with a lot of the [UIC] guys from playing basketball in Chicago,’’ said Loyola’s Milton Doyle (18 points on 6-for-9 shooting), who went to Marshall.
Their meetings in the Horizon League are over, with Loyola having moved to the Missouri Valley Conference, but each team wanted a victory after losing two of their last three.
Both offenses clicked in the first half, with UIC (3-6) shooting 61.5 percent and the Ramblers (4-5) at 62.5 percent. The Flames led 39-37 at the break.
But the Ramblers scored the first seven points of the second half, which UIC coach Howard Moore called a key to the game.
“We talked about being the aggressors [in the second half], but they did it,’’ Moore said.
“We have a mantra that we want to make them call the first timeout [in the second half],’’ Ramblers coach Porter Moser said. “I thought that set the tone.
“Our story has been we’ve held teams to 30 to 40 percent [shooting] in the first half but giving up 60 percent in the second half,’’ he added. “Today, it was the reverse.’’
The Flames shot 40.7 percent in the second half while the Ramblers kept hitting, finishing at 64.3 percent for the game — their best since Jan. 6, 2007, against Milwaukee.
The Flames still rallied from an eight-point deficit in the second half to pull within 72-70 with 11 seconds left after Barlow completed a three-point play. Thomas made one more free throw for Loyola, giving UIC a chance for a tying three at the end.
“We kept it in reach, but we missed six free throws in the second half and we let them score 42 points in the paint,’’ Moore said.
Guard Marc Brown led the Flames with 18 points and had three of his team’s nine steals.
“It’s still a good game for college basketball in the city,’’ Moore said. “Porter and I are on the same page. We’ll keep [the series] going.’’