CHICAGO — UIC coach Howard Moore was furious after his team’s effort in a loss Tuesday to Grand Canyon. He thought the Flames played with a bit more intensity Saturday in a 77-67 loss to city-rival Loyola, but they still left a lot to be desired.
“Not enough, still not enough,” Moore said. “It’s not even about Xs and Os. It’s about not having the passion to get stops.”
Not only did the Flames still lack some heart, but they missed several scoring opportunities in Saturday’s loss. They missed six of their first seven free throws and were just 4-for-12 before shooting 12-for-15 in the final eight minutes.
UIC also missed several layups and open jumpers. Late in the first half, as Loyola opened up a 10-point lead, the Flames missed layups on three straight possessions.
“Make a layup — I’m joking but I’m serious,” Moore said. “We were getting good looks. We got the ball inside. We got the ball where we wanted it. Now it’s just convert. When you don’t convert you put pressure on your defense. And you can’t stop them every time.”
Junior forward Jake Wiegand, typically a reliable scoring option with a team-high 15.9 points per game entering Saturday, was quite inefficient against Loyola. He scored nine points on 4-for-11 shooting from the field and 1-for-5 shooting at the foul line.
Off five offensive rebounds against a small Loyola front line, Wiegand did not score any second-chance points. He missed a pair of layups, and the one time he was fouled after an offensive board he missed both free throws.
“He’s got to mentally stronger,” Moore said. “You miss a shot, so what? Go back, go play defense on the other end, come back and shoot another one. You’ve got to be strong enough and mentally tough enough to come through. It’s not just him, but he’s one of our leaders, one of our captains, and he’s got to come through.”
The Flame will try to end a three-game losing streak Thursday against UCF.