UIC (2-3) traveled to the Gulf Coast Showcase in Florida as a heavy underdog with losses in all three of its games against Division I teams. The Flames were looking at the tournament as an opportunity to turn the young season around, and on Monday afternoon they delivered with a 74-70 victory against previously unbeaten San Diego (5-1).
Senior guard Kelsey Barlow set a career-high with 17 points, including a pair of free throws that iced the game in the final seconds, and sophomore Jake Wiegand posted his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“Today was a solid performance and I’m proud of our team,” said UIC head coach Howard Moore. “Our guys really came together and fought the entire game. We made defensive stops when we needed them and played well offensively. Now we need to focus our attention on a very good Louisiana Tech team.”
The Flames received notable contributions from sophomore guard Gabe Snider, who also recorded a career-high with 11 points and made a couple of key buckets in the second half, and from junior wing Marc Brown. Brown, who entered the game averaging 18 points, scored 13 on Monday for his fourth double-digit outing of the 2013-14 season.
Senior forward Hayden Humes, who had really struggled in his last three games, had his best outing since the season opener against Drake with eight points and four rebounds.
Although San Diego’s dynamic backcourt of Johnny Dee, Christopher Anderson, and Duda Sanadze combined for 46 points, UIC held them to 34.3% shooting from the field.
Though an impressive victory, the Flames face an even taller task on Tuesday against Louisiana Tech (3-1). The Bulldogs are one of the favorites in Conference USA, and they blew out UNC Greensboro, 99-62, in their Gulf Coast Showcase opener.
Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. ET.