RECAP: Ferguson ties CBI single-game assist mark in 80-71 win for UIC

Tai Odiase (23 points, 7 rebounds) and the UIC Flames led for all but 46 seconds in Monday’s win over George Washington, 80-71. (Source: UIC Flames)

CHICAGO, Ill. — It’s always better to give than to receive.

On Monday night, the UIC Flames proved that to be true in their CBI quarter-final match-up with the visiting George Washington Colonials. Despite possessing a sub-.500 record after the regular season, the Flames looked good in their post-season opener against the Stony Brook Seawolves, and they were looking to build off the positive momentum.

It was a record night for the Flames as a whole, and for freshman guard Tarkus Ferguson. As a team, UIC tied the CBI single-game mark with 24 assists, and Ferguson tied the individual single-game mark, dishing out 12 dimes of his own.

The Flames only trailed the Colonials for a grand total of 44 seconds on Monday night. Ferguson narrowly missed a triple-double, recording six points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists in the Flames’ 80-71 victory.

Tai Odiase scored a team-high 23 points to go along with seven rebounds and four blocks. Five different Flames scored in double figures in the win.

For George Washington, the duo of Tyler Cavanaugh (24 points) and Yuta Watanabe (21 points) combined to score 45 of the Colonials’ 71 points in the loss. No other Colonial reached double figures.

The Flames opened the game on a 7-0 run, with Odiase contributing four points in the opening 1:09 of the contest. George Washington would remain close, and they would take the lead just before the halfway point of the opening frame.

A three ball from Collin Smith gave the Colonials a 17-15 lead with 10:21 to play in the half. George Washington held that lead for just 18 seconds.

On their next possession, another three, this time from Arnaldo Toro, gave the Colonials a 20-17 lead. They held this lead for 26 seconds, and it was their final lead of the night.

Ferguson answered with a three of his own to tie the game up at 20-all, and that kicked off an 18-2 run for the Flames that gave the home side a 13-point lead when all was said and done.

George Washington would get within striking distance in the closing minutes of the game, but were unable to take a lead of their own in the second half. With 1:48 to play, Cavanaugh completed a three-point play to get the Colonials to within a pair, but strong free throw shooting down the stretch sealed the deal for the Flames.

On the night, the Flames dished out 24 assists as a team, which tied the CBI single-game mark, which was held by the 2014 Radford Highlanders and the 2012 Oregon State Beavers.

Freshman Tarkus Ferguson tied the individual single-game assist mark in the win, dishing out 12 assists.

For the first time in school history, UIC (17-18) has won two post-season games in the same year. They will now move onto the semifinals of the 2017 CBI on the weekend.

With the loss, the 2016-17 season comes to an end for George Washington, who finish with a record of 20-15 overall.

– T. Bennett