RECAP: Cornell Johnston, Eastern Illinois Panthers Roll Past UIC Flames, 90-76

Cornell Johnston scored a game-high 21 points and dished out a career-high 9 assists in Eastern Illinois' 90-76 win over the UIC Flames. (Header Photo: OVC Ball)
Cornell Johnston scored a game-high 21 points and dished out a career-high 9 assists in Eastern Illinois’ 90-76 win over the UIC Flames. (Header Photo: OVC Ball)

Sunday’s college basketball slate was quieter than the past couple of days, with only 27 games on tap for the day. However, there were still some big games that could provide teams with a much-needed momentum boost as the season ticks along.

One of those games took place in Chicago, where the Eastern Illinois Panthers took on the UIC Flames.

Both teams came into Sunday with identical 4-3 records on the year, and were looking to push their records further above the .500 mark. The Panthers were coming off a loss to the Bradley Braves, and were looking to get back on the right track, while the Flames were looking to extend their winning streak to a modest two games.

It was back-and-forth early on, and the Flames jumped out to an early 5-2 lead. From there, it was a seesaw game, as both squads traded leads on several occasions.

With 6:42 to play in the opening half, Casey Teson hit a three pointer to give the Panthers a 21-18 lead.

They wouldn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the way.

Eastern Illinois took an 11-point lead into halftime, and the Flames would never get within single digits in the second half. The Panthers rolled to the 90-76 win over UIC on Sunday afternoon.

Early in the second half, the Panthers extended their lead to 13 points, at 43-30. Tarkus Ferguson would get a layup to go for the Flames shortly thereafter, bringing UIC back to within 10 points with 19:27 to play in the game.

From then on out, the Flames wouldn’t get any closer.

A 10-0 run for the Panthers over the next three-plus minutes pushed the lead to 20 points, and Eastern Illinois cruised the rest of the way.

The lead would reach as many as 23 points on several occasions in the second half. Teson hit another three pointer with 9:12 left on the clock to give the Panthers a 68-45 advantage.

UIC continued to fight down the stretch, trying to chip into the lead as much as they could, but the writing was on the wall.

Eastern Illinois came away with the 90-76 win on the road over the UIC Flames.

Cornell Johnston led the way for the Panthers, scoring a game-high 21 points to go along with a season-best 9 assists. He finished the game shooting 7-of-12 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from three point range.

Montell Goodwin chipped in with 19 points of his own, while Casey Teson added 12 points off the bench.

For the Flames, Marcus Ottey scored a team-high 16 points off the bench. Dikembe Dixson and Dominique Matthews recorded 10 point apiece.

The win was the fourth in the last five games for the Eastern Illinois Panthers (5-3, 0-0). They will look to keep their winning ways going on Wednesday night, when they continue their road trip with a game against the Northern Kentucky Norse.

Over the last six games, the UIC Flames (4-4, 0-0) have alternated wins and losses. They will hope the trend continues on Saturday afternoon, when they look to score a win over the Grand Canyon Antelopes.

– T. Bennett