In its second game against Division I competition this season, UIC (1-2) was overwhelmed by Eastern Illinois (2-1) in the second half, falling 86-66. The Flames trailed by 17 points in the first half but worked back within two possessions early in the second. The Panthers had the necessary response, though, as they finished the game on a 19-7 run in the final 5:04.
“We knew it was going to be a physical game,” said UIC head coach Howard Moore. “We obviously weren’t ready for a game like this and I take responsibility for that. I give credit to Eastern Illinois and Coach Spoonhour – they played their hearts out. We’ll take this game and learn from it.”
UIC received great individual performances once again from Purdue transfer Kelsey Barlow and junior guard Marc Brown.
Barlow posted 12 points, seven assists, and rebounds, and he knocked down a pair of three-pointers. In all three of the Flames’ games, he has now scored in double figures and had at least five assists. His seven dimes marked a career-high.
Brown, who averaged only 5.7 points per game last season, continued his offensive explosion with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including two three-pointers. He is now averaging 21.7 points on 62.2% field-goal shooting.
Central Arkansas transfer Jordan Harks turned in the best performance in his young career at UIC, recording 13 points and eight rebounds.
Senior Hayden Humes, who was the Flames’ top returning scorer from last season, continued his offensive struggles with five points on 2-of-7 shooting. The forward fouled out in 22 minutes of play.
Eastern Illinois was firing on all cylinders throughout the game. The Panthers shot 57.1% from the field, including 60% shooting in the second half, and they drained nine of their 14 three-point attempts. They also converted at the foul line, making 21 of 27 shots.
Junior guard Reggie Smith, a UNLV transfer, led the way with 23 points, six assists, and two steals. Smith tallied 19 points in the season opener against Northwestern, but he struggled with 4-of-16 shooting. On Saturday, Smith was much more efficient at 7-of-13 from the field and 3-of-5 on treys.
Stretch-forward Josh Piper added 10 points and a pair of three-pointers, and junior Dylan Chatman scored a career-high nine points on three triples.