Senior center Josh Crittle scored a game-high 20 points, helping Illinois-Chicago open the Horizon League tournament with an 82-59 victory over Cleveland State on Tuesday at The Pavilion in Chicago.
Senior guard Daniel Barnes added 16 points and eight rebounds for fifth-seeded Illinois-Chicago (17-14), which will play No. 4 Green Bay in a second-round game Friday.
Sophomore guard Charlie Lee scored 17 points to lead eighth-seeded Cleveland State (14-18).
Barnes made four 3-pointers in the first 7:17, helping Illinois-Chicago build a big lead early in the first half. The Flames mounted a 14-0 run to take a 19-3 lead on a 3-pointer by Barnes with 12:43 to play in the opening half.
Illinois-Chicago went up 30-6 on a tip-in by Ahman Fells with 7:10 to go. The Vikings outscored the Flames 20-6 in the next 4:15 to cut the deficit to 10 on a layup by Bryn Forbes with 2:55 remaining, but the Flames still led 44-30 at the break.
Cleveland State cut the lead to 12 early in the second half and trailed 51-38 with 13:20 to play before the Flames pulled away, outscoring the Vikings 26-14 in the next 8:22.