UIC (5-6) strung together back-to-back wins for the first time this season by beating Purdue Calumet on Tuesday, 88-61.
“This was an important game for us,” UIC head coach Howard Moore said. “We really wanted to establish our home-court advantage again and tonight we took a step in that direction. Overall, I was pleased with the effort. We’re starting to gel and I’m excited about this team’s potential. I think tonight shows that we have more than just one good player on our roster. If we keep focusing on our defensive principles then that will continue to feed our offense.”
Playing against a NAIA opponent, the Flames had this one in hand very early. By the 13:39 mark in the first half, they led 16-8, and the lead grew to as many as 25 in the first half after Marc Brown’s dunk with 3:56 remaining.
In the second half, the Peregrines fought back to within 18 points with 10:20 remaining, but UIC sophomore Gabe Snider responded with a three-pointer to end the short run.
UIC continued to dominate with an 8-2 spurt a couple of minutes later that put the Flames up 69-42.
After Roddy Richardson’s layup with 5:58 remaining got Purdue Calumet within 23 points, the Flames rattled off nine points in a row to take a 82-50 advantage.
Frank Dounis’ free throws with 26 seconds left gave the Flames their largest lead at 88-59.
Five Flames scored in double figures, led by Central Arkansas Jordan Harks.
Harks posted 15 points, 12 rebounds and three steals, notching his second double-double of the season.
He was helped out in the frontcourt by Jake Wiegand (12 points) and Hayden Humes (10 points, 2 steals).
Freshman wing Pat Birt set a new career-high with 14 points, and Brown had 13 points and three assists.
Senior guard Kelsey Barlow, the reigning Horizon League Player of the Week, nearly recorded his second consecutive double-double with nine points and eight assists.
With its final homestand of 2013 wrapped up, UIC will begin a four-game road trip at UC Riverside (3-6) on Friday night. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. CT.