CHICAGO, Ill. — What was a four-point game with little more than 10 minutes to play ballooned into a 21-point UIC lead before the host Flames settled for a 76-60 victory over the Dartmouth Big Green on Friday evening at the UIC Pavilion. Dikembe Dixson scored 19 points and Dominique Matthews 18 more for the Flames (4-6), while Dartmouth (3-5) got 16 points from senior Miles Wright and a career-high 15 from sophomore Will Emery.
Both teams struggled shooting the ball at the onset of the second half with UIC leading a defensive struggle, 45-41, with 10:09 on the clock. But the Flames hit 13 of their final 18 field goals while the Green were just 3-of-7 from the floor, although Dartmouth continually got the foul line and scored 13 of its final 19 points at the charity stripe.
Marcus Ottey came off the bench to score 11 of his 13 points for UIC in that stretch, starting the charge with a pair of foul shots. Back-to-back Big Green turnovers led to a pair of easy buckets, suddenly giving the Flames a 10-point lead for the first time all night.
Wright briefly stemmed the tide with three points the hard way, only to be matched by an Ottey three-point play of his own. The next four trips down the court each led to a pair of Dartmouth free throws, yet the Big Green could not gain ground as UIC answered each set with a bucket down low to maintain its 10-point edge.
The Flames then put the game out of reach with a 14-2 run with Dixson providing the dagger 3-pointer with three minutes play. He then capped the run with a free throw for the largest lead of the night at 21 points (76-55), before Dartmouth scored the final five points.
The Big Green had the range early, hitting nine of their first 17 shots in the first 13 minutes of action. But the shots stopped falling from there with Dartmouth hitting just nine more field goals the rest of the night, ending the game at 37.5 percent (18-of-48) from the floor. UIC, meanwhile, utilized its strong finish to nearly break even on field goals at 32-of-65 (.492).
Dartmouth did enjoy a large advantage at the foul line, converting 17-of-22 (.773) despite missing its first three tries. The Flames canned a mere 6-of-9 (.667) free throws, but held a 36-30 edge on the glass and denied the Big Green a single second-chance point.
Emery began the game with a two-hand jam, and Dartmouth jumped out to an early 10-4 lead thanks to 3-pointers by senior Taylor Johnson and sophomore Brendan Barry — who finished with 10 points — followed by another Emery bucket down low. But after Wright got into the long ball act a couple of minutes later for a 13-9 lead, neither side led by more than three the rest of the half in a back-and-forth affair.
Matthews capped an 11-3 Flames run with his second of three trifectas in the opening stanza, giving UIC a brief 15-13 lead. Freshman Aaryn Rai gave the Green an immediate answer with a rainbow three from the corner, and Wright followed with a steal and breakaway dunk to ignite the Dartmouth faithful on hand.
Over the final seven minutes of the half, the only Big Green points were provided by Wright with his second trey and a bucket at the rim off a terrific pass from freshman forward Adrease Jackson. Dixon then knotted the score at 28 with a mid-range jumper, and a Matthews free throw gave the Flames a 29-28 advantage, the seventh and final lead change of the night. Clint Robinson added a short jumper in the paint to allow UIC to take a three-point lead into the locker room.
Dixson started the second half with a 3-pointer and a layup, only to have Dartmouth claw its way back to within one on a layup and three-point play courtesy of Emery, plus a pair of Wright free throws to make it a 40-39 game with 15 minutes left. An Emery layup four minutes later kept the difference at four, 45-41, but the rest of the game belonged to the Flames.
Emery hit 7-of-11 shots and his lone free throw for his 15 points, while Wright was 5-of-13 with a pair of 3-pointers and 4-of-5 at the line to lead Dartmouth with 16. Johnson had a team-best six rebounds and four assists as well.
Dixson needed 19 shots to get his game-high 19 points, hitting eight with a pair of treys, and Matthews was 7-of-14 with a trio of triples. Guard Godwin Boahen led all players with seven rebounds, and forward Jordan Blount boasted a career-best 10 assists along with four steals.
Dartmouth’s five-game road trip comes to a conclusion with its toughest test yet at 18th-ranked Notre Dame on Tuesday evening in a game televised on ESPNU at 7 p.m. (EST).
Notes: Dartmouth freshman Chris Knight, who entered the game leading the team with 12.9 points per game, was held to a single point due to foul trouble throughout the night, ending a string of six straight games in double figures … this was the first meeting on the hardwood between the two schools … the Big Green are now 2-7 all-time against schools from the state of Illinois and have only won once inside the state borders, that coming in 1949 against Northwestern … Barry has hit at least two 3-pointers in 10 straight games.