Behind a career night for senior guard Jay Harris, UIC (3-7) ended its three-game losing streak Thursday with a 71-60 win against UCF (5-3). The Flames had lost six straight games against Division I opponents.
“Tonight was the most complete game we have played all season,” coach Howard Mooore said in a release. “Our starters gave us great momentum and our defense had high intensity all night. Jay hit a bunch of tough shots, which took off some pressure that we have been experiencing in previous games. This was a true team win and everyone contributed.”
Harris got the Flames off to a hot start, scoring 12 of his career-high 32 points in the first eight minutes as UIC built an 18-9 lead.
Later in the half, a 7-0 run by UCF tied the game, and Knights forward Justin McBride converted a 3-point play to give his team a 30-27 lead at halftime.
UIC scored the first six points of the second half. Harris drilled a jumper on the Flames’ first possessions. Junior point guard D’Juan Miller forced a pair of turnovers and converted them into four points on the other end.
The Flames led the rest of the way and built a lead as large as 13 points in the final minute.
Harris scored his 32 points on 9-for-16 field-goal shooting, including four 3-pointers. Miller had nine points and five assists while junior forward Jake Wiegand added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Senior guard Marc Brown, who has been having a frustrating year, struggled from the field again with 1-for-7 shooting. But he made all six of his free throws and found the open man for four assists. Thursday was his best outing since the season opener at DePaul.
““Marc played locked down defense,” said Moore. “Tonight was the Marc Brown that we’ve been waiting for. We will expect that kind of hard-nosed defense out of Marc for the rest of the season.”
Freshman guard B.J. Taylor led UCF with 13 points. Fellow freshman Adonys Henriquez recorded five points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Knights.
UIC returns to action Monday against Tennessee-Martin.
Video highlights courtesy of UIC Athletics.