CHICAGO — UIC raced out to a 12-point lead in the first half Friday, but Paris Bass led Detroit back for a 83-72 win at UIC Pavilion.
Steve McClain rolled the dice with Dikembe Dixson, and it paid off. The UIC coach left his star freshman in after picking up two fouls in the first 5:06 of the first half.
Dixson rarely comes off the floor, playing in 96.6 percent of possible minutes during conference play entering Friday. As usual, UIC (5-21, 3-12 Horizon) needed its star player on the floor.
Dixson dropped 13 points in the first half, and the Flames held a 34-33 lead at the break.
A huge swing at the end of the first half. It appeared Detroit (15-12, 9-7) would get the last shot of the half trailing 34-30, but then UIC forward Jake Wiegand forced a steal. The 6-foot-8 Wiegand tried to man the ensuing fast break on his own and missed a finger roll with five seconds left. Detroit guard Carlton Brundidge rifled the ball up the court to Anton Wilson, who drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
What should have been a 36-30 lead for UIC at halftime became 34-33.
Paris Bass was tonight’s MVP. The Detroit forward filled up the box score with 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks.
At 6-foot-8, Bass is one of the Horizon League’s most versatile players, and coach Ray McCallum even has him bring the ball up the court sometimes. UIC had no answer for Bass in the second half. He scored 15 points and shot 6-of-8 from the field after halftime.
Tai Odiase continues defensive dominance. The 6-foot-9 sophomore blocked seven shots and is now averaging 7.3 rejections in the last four games.
Odiase finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds as well, making this his seventh game of Horizon League play with at least 10 points, six rebounds and six blocks.
Dixson ties Horizon League freshman scoring record. Dixson finished with a game-high 26 points. He shot 7-of-23 from the field and did not hit a 3-pointer, but 12-of-14 shooting at the foul line allowed him to still have a fairly efficient night.
Dixson will almost surely set a new record Sunday against Oakland.