Huskies shot down by Flames

By Steve Dennis

Mike Hidden hit a career-high 27 points last night at the UIC Pavilion, but missed a crucial three-pointer with just over a minute to go in the game.

The end result was a see-saw 95-90 victory by the UIC Flames.

“Two things were going on in my mind and I just didn’t concentrate on the shot,” Hidden said afterward. “When I looked up at the clock after that … it was just my mistake.”

Yet, up until that point, it was Hidden’s flawless shooting and aggressive play that kept NIU in the contest.

NIU falls to 10-14, 7-7. UIC moves to 12-11, 8-5.

UIC opened up a 10-point lead—the biggest of the game—at the 10:33 mark, but Hidden drew a foul on UIC’s hero, Kenny Williams.

Williams, who scored 25 points and had a career-high 12 assists, was whistled for a technical seconds later and Hidden knocked down all four of the ensuing free-throws.

NIU got the ball back and Brian Molis layed in two of his 22 points to bring the Huskies within four.

Just as the momentum seemed to swing, UIC answered with Eugene Witherspoon’s turn-around jumper. Hidden slapped back with his only trey of the night to make it 73-70.

NIU eventually took an 84-82 lead but the Flames tied it, then went ahead when Sean Buchanan buried a three-pointer from the left corner.

Buchanan’s trey was just one of a dozen that the Flames hit on the evening.

“Some of those shots were excellent shots,” NIU head coach Brian Hammel said. “But we didn’t have our hands up on the shot and that bothers me.

“When they got the 6-8 guy shooting three-pointers from the corner … it just shows that they are a pretty good shooting three-point team.”

UIC hit eight of those long-range bombs in the second half alone—and every one seemed to come after an NIU run.

“It was certainly a game of spurts,” Hammel echoed. “They answered every run that we had.”

“We’d come down, hit two three’s and the momentum was on our side,” Hidden said. “Then they’d come back and hit two three’s back to us.

“They came back in a spurt, then we spurted back and they ended (the game) with a spurt. Maybe if we had more time on the clock, we would’ve spurted back.”