UIC ended its three-game road trip Sunday with its fourth straight loss. The Flames fell at Bradley 68-60.
UIC remained close throughout, never trailing by more than 12 points. For most of the game, the Flames were within single digits of the Braves.
But missed opportunities, particularly at the foul line late in the game, prevented UIC from completing a late comeback.
“Missing 10 free throws in the second half really hurt us,” coach Howard Moore said in a release. “I thought we did a decent job of adjusting to their defensive pressure, but there were moments when we were out of rhythm.”
UIC cut Bradley’s lead to 55-53 after junior forward Jake Wiegand netted a jumper with 3:57 remaining. After Ka’Darryl Bell responded with a 3-pointer, UIC redshirt freshman Lance Whitaker scored three points on the next possession in an unusual way.
Whitaker split a pair of free throws, and made an and-one off the offensive rebound. But he then missed another free throw. Whitaker again made 1-of-2 at the foul line on the following possession, after Bradley guard Tramique Sutherland drilled a jumper.
Sutherland’s 3-point play with 1:06 remaining put UIC in a tough hole down 63-57. He finished with a team-high 19 points.
“He is a quick guard and made some big plays in the second half,” said Moore. “I would like to see this series continue. I think it is good when in-state schools can play each other.”
Bell finished with 16 points for Bradley, and freshman forward Josh Cunningham recorded his second double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Cunningham also had four steals and two blocks.
Wiegand led UIC with 21 points and seven rebounds. Whitaker, junior guard Paris Burns and senior guard Marc Brown also reached double figures in scoring.
UIC wraps up non-conference play Tuesday against Judson.