UIC (0-1) fought furiously in the final eight minutes against Drake (1-0) in the season opener on Saturday night, reducing a nine-point deficit to two points. But the Flames could not complete to comeback and force overtime as Hayden Humes’ finger roll in the final seconds touched every part of the rim but did not fall through, and the Bulldogs walked away with a 61-59 victory.
“The basketball gods said we didn’t deserve the win tonight,” UIC head coach Howard Moore said.“To be honest, we shouldn’t let the game come down to one final play like that.”
Drake’s Richard Carter dominated the Flames for 38 points and four steals. The senior, who averaged only 9.2 points per game last season, shot 12-of-17 from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 from the foul line in 36 minutes of play.
“Carter has great quickness, but we let him get to the rim way too many times and he stayed in attack mode,” Moore said. ” We’re not where we need to be and tonight was a wakeup call.”
The Flames received very promising performances from junior Marc Brown and senior Kelsey Barlow. Brown, who averaged just 5.7 points per game as a sophomore, is expected to take on a larger role offensively, and he did just that against Drake. The junior posted 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting along with four assists.
Barlow, a Purdue transfer with one year of eligibility, recorded 11 points, seven assists, and three steals.
Humes, the Flames’ top returning scorer from last season, scored 10 points and shot 4-of-7 from the field, including two three-pointers.
UIC will be back in action on Wednesday night against Roosevelt, a NAIA opponent.