Raiders rally to douse Flames in Chicago

CHICAGO, Illinois – Down as much as 12 in the first half and still trailing by seven with nine minutes to play, the Wright State men’s basketball team outscored UIC 27-18 the rest of the way to pull out an 88-86 Horizon League victory over the Flames Sunday afternoon at the UIC Pavilion.

A 10-0 UIC run broke open a two-point margin and put the Flames up 25-13 with 11:38 remaining in the first half and the margin was still 10 until the Raiders responded with nine unanswered points to only trail 30-29 at the 5:43 mark.

The Flames followed with nine straight points of their own to push the lead back into double figures before WSU closed the half with a 10-4 burst over the final 3:34 to cut the deficit to 43-39 at the halftime break.

Wright State shot 52 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes and hit eight of 11 free throws while UIC shot 48 percent and connected on 14 of 16 at the stripe.

The Flames maintained the advantage throughout the early part of the second half and led 68-61 on a Kyle Guice three with nine minutes left.

A jumper and three by Grant Benzinger, though, started the Raiders on their comeback and eventually took the lead for good at 75-73 on a Parker Ernsthausen layup at the 4:46 mark.

An Ernsthausen three-point play with 1:52 to go made it 85-79, but UIC hung close and had a chance to tie in the final seconds before WSU held on for the victory.

Both teams continued their strong shooting in the second half as Wright State shot 55 percent to finish at 54 percent overall while the Flames shot 52 percent the final 20 minutes to end up at 50 percent overall.

Five Raiders scored in double figures as Mark Alstork had 24 points, 17 in the second half, while Justin Mitchell posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.  Ernsthausen added 11 points off the bench while Benzinger and Mike La Tulip each had 10.

Wright State (15-8, 6-4 Horizon) begins a three-game homestand on Saturday, February 4, as the Raiders host Northern Kentucky at 7:00.

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