UIC had a chance to be 2-0 in the Horizon League for the first time in Howard Moore‘s five-year tenure, but the Flames fell Sunday to Cleveland State, 74-69. The Flames dug a double-digit hole in the second half, and their comeback attempt arrived too late.
Here is The Catch and Shoot’s reaction:
—Moore keeps saying he wants this to be a defensive team. So where’s the defense? Cleveland State (8-8, 2-0 Horizon) shot 75% from the field in the first half and scored 1.22 points per possession.
The defense was better in the second half, but that’s not saying much. Cleveland State still got plenty of open and easy looks.
When the defense finally forced a string of stops late in the second half with UIC (5-12, 1-1) trailing 62-50, the offense stalled and the Flames couldn’t get into the lead. Once the offense picked back up, the defense allowed Cleveland State to respond with fairly easy baskets.
UIC will not beat any of the better Horizon League teams until it plays a complete game on both ends of the floor.
—Anton Grady owned Jake Wiegand in the frontcourt battle. Wiegand was ejected at the 8:33 mark of the second half after getting in a tussle with Grady and Cleveland State guard Charlie Lee, but the UIC big man was shut down during his time on the floor. Wiegand recorded just three points on 1-for-4 shooting. He also grabbed only four rebounds and turned the ball over twice.
Wiegand was coming off solid performances in UIC’s last three games, but he appeared to once again be in a funk, like he had been for most of December.
Meanwhile, Grady was the star of the afternoon. He posted 18 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 7-for-12 from the field.
—Charlie Lee sliced up UIC. Lee finished with a game-high 18 points along with five assists. 16 of those points came in the second half, where he simply took over with a variety of shots.
Lee shot 3-for-4 from 2-point range, 3-for-5 from 3-point and 3-for-3 at the foul line.
—Hans-Christian Lauer sighting! Lauer saw five minutes in the first half and scored four straight points during that stretch. He subbed in for Wiegand after Wiegand was ejected.
Lauer did not score the rest of the game, but those four points still matched his career-high.