Coming off a pair of wins, UIC failed to capture a third victory in a row Sunday. The Flames battled close with the Cleveland State Vikings but fell short, 67-59.
The Vikings, who sit in second place in the Horizon League, used an efficient offensive outburst of 1.18 points per possession to outlast the Flames, who led 34-30 at halftime.
Senior guard Charlie Lee gave Cleveland State (16-11, 10-3 Horizon) its first lead on the second half with a 3-pointer at the 16:12 mark, but a technical foul gave UIC guard Paris Burns an opportunity to make two free throws to tie. Burns lived at the charity stripe, making all 10 of his shots there on his way to 17 total points.
UIC (7-20, 3-9) fell behind by as many as 13 points when Marlin Mason‘s dunk put Cleveland State ahead 60-47 with 5:07 remaining.
Then Flames senior Ahman Fells did what seniors do in crunch time. The 6-foot-5 forward, who finished with 17 points, made three straight 3-pointers to cut the lead to 60-56 still with more than two minutes left.
However, Cleveland State locked up UIC with its defense the rest of the way, allowing just one more made field goal.
Despite the loss, UIC remains in a tie for 7th place in the Horizon League.
As of today, the Flames would be the No. 6 seed in the Horizon League Tournament. They hold the tie-breaking win over Wright State, and 5th place Milwaukee is ineligible for postseason play.
UIC returns to action Thursday with a home game against Milwaukee.