Loyola stuns UIC at the buzzer

By Etheria Modacure

The University of Illinois at Chicago Flames (7-21, 2-14) has dealt with close defeats throughout this season. Losing to Loyola University (15-12, 6-10) on Feb. 16, added more turmoil to their season.

With 4.6 seconds left, the Ramblers pushed the ball up court, and guard Courtney Stanley drained the game-winning three pointer at the buzzer in overtime.

The Flames had just taken a two point lead, 66-64 when forward Dipanjot Singh hit a field goal that was counted as a three-pointer but was quickly negated to a two-point shot. After a Ramblers timeout, guard Terrance Hill received the inbound pass and found Stanley open, waiting around the perimeter.

“The play was to just get the ball up the court first so we could get a good shot,” Stanley said. “I told [Terrance] Hill to give me the ball and let me score. All I could see was the rim and I knocked that shot down.”

This was the second game of the inner-city rivalry this season and the Ramblers have swept the series. The Flames won two games in the Horizon League out of 16 this season and have not been over .500 since they defeated the Toledo University on Nov. 19, 2010.

Their contest against the Ramblers was reminiscent of their previous contests where they held a lead only to lose the game.

UIC held a 10 point lead in the first half but was unable to put the Ramblers away before halftime. The Flames had nine turnovers in the first period which led to nine points for Loyola.

Senior guard Robo Kreps was held to just eight points throughout the contest. Paul Carter, 19 points and Paris Carter, 16 points, both had solid performances for UIC.

After leading 27-25, after halftime, the Ramblers outshot the Flames from the field, eclipsing over 56 percent from the floor. UIC didn’t have an answer for guard Geoff McCammon, who could be an early favorite for sixth man of the year on the Horizon League.

“We talked at halftime that defense got us the lead at [the half],” said Loyola coach Jim Whitesell. “In the second half, Geoff [McCammon] and T [Terrance Hill] got cooking and we really shot the ball well.”

Hill had eight points in the second half and McCammon had 11 on a solid 100 percent shooting from the field.

Even though the Flames were outshot in the second half by Loyola, they were still able keep the game relatively close. With 54 seconds remaining in the game, Singh was able to hit a three-pointer to put his team ahead 59-57.

After turnovers by Loyola and UIC, the Ramblers had possession with 12 seconds remaining. As Hill was driving to the basket, Kreps fouled him. He hit both free-throw shots to tie the game at 59-59. Kreps missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer that ultimately sent the game into overtime.

“I’m disappointed about the loss, but I’m more disappointed about our first half efforts,” said UIC coach Howard Moore. “When there was a flurry of turnovers on our behalf. Lack of focus and concentration of doing what got us a 10-point lead early in the first half.”

The Flames didn’t capitalize on the 24 turnovers that Loyola committed mainly because they were 0-for-3 from the free-throw line in the first half and 50 percent overall.

For the Ramblers, playing in a tightly contested rivalry game was nothing new for the team but bragging rights for the next year will go to Loyola.

“It’s a rivalry game. We talk about all the time [there’s] going to be punches and we knew UIC wasn’t going to go away,” Whitesell said. “I’m thankful for the win [and] the way our guys hung in there in the end.”