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Illinois-Chicago 50, Northwestern 44

The SportsXchange

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Illinois-Chicago shook off poor first-half shooting to maintain mastery over Northwestern with a 50-44 victory in a neighborhood clash at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday.

Josh Crittle scored 13 points and Daniel Barnes added 10 as the Flames (6-1) extended their winning streak over the Wildcats (5-2) to four games and now lead the all-time series 4-3.

The win was the second over a Big Ten foe for Flames coach Howard Moore. UIC upset then-top-10-ranked Illinois 57-54 on Dec. 18, 2010.

Drew Crawford scored a game-high 18 points while Reggie Hearn added 10 for as Northwestern (6-2) dropped its second straight.

With the game tied 44-44, UIC claimed the lead for good on a Crittle put back while Gary Talton and Hayden Humes each hit a pair of free throws in the final 29 seconds to pull away.

Illinois-Chicago shot just 17 of 55 (30.9 percent) from the field but scored 14 points off 16 Northwestern turnovers. The Flames also shot 14 of 15 from the free-throw line while the Wildcats were 10 of 20.

The second half saw six lead changes and five ties before the Flames took control in the final minute.

Illinois-Chicago led by as many as five points midway through the first half, couldn't build on it as it hit a cold-shooting spell. In the final 4:27, the Flames hit just 1 of 7 from the field and managed just 8 of 28 (28.6 percent) for the half.

Northwestern eased ahead at 22-21 following a pair of Crawford free throws at the 3:56 mark. Hearn added a bank shot off a Mike Turner feed to make it 24-21 and the Wildcats maintained the edge the rest of the way to a 26-25 halftime lead.

In the second half, it was Northwestern's turn to struggle as center Alex Olah missed two open jumpers. UIC reclaimed a temporary lead at 33-32 on Crittle's three-point play at the 14:02 mark.

Notes: Until Saturday, the Flames and Wildcats had not met since 2005, a 71-62 UIC victory in Evanston. ... Northwestern travels to Baylor Tuesday and entertains Butler next Saturday. Illinois-Chicago hosts Roosevelt Wednesday and Colorado State Saturday.
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