CHICAGO, Ill. – Kenny Carpenter scored a career-high 24 points, but UIC's Najeal Young hit a baseline jumper with 2.0 seconds left in overtime to give the Flames a 72-70 win over Cleveland State on Saturday afternoon.
Carpenter hit 10-of-21 from the field and added seven rebounds and three steals. Jibri Blount added a career-high 15 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Demonte Flannigan scored 11 points and Rob Edwards added 10.
Jeron Rogers chipped in three points and five rebounds.
Dikembe Dixson led UIC with 24 points as the Flames took 48 free throws in the contest, including 34 in the second half and overtime.
CSU used baskets from Blount and Flannigan to open overtime and take a 68-64 lead, but a Lance Whitaker three-pointer cut the lead to one. After another Flannigan bucket, Young hit a free throw and Jake Wiegand scored to knot the contest at 70-70 with just over a minute to play.
The Vikings missed on the other end and after a Flame miss, a jump ball gave the ball back to the Flames with 28 seconds left, setting up Young's game-winning shot.
UIC scored the first two baskets of the game and opened up a 15-9 lead six minutes into the game. However, the Vikings answered with a 25-9 run over the next eight minutes to take their largest lead of the half (36-24) with 6:20 to go.
Carpenter finished the run with eight straight points that included a three-point play, a three-pointer and a jumper. He finished the first half with 16 points.
The Flames scored five of the final six points of the half to get the halftime deficit under double-digits as CSU led, 37-29, at the half.
UIC cut the Viking lead to 43-42 three minutes into the second half and CSU was forced to go its reserves as three starters – Edwards, Flannigan and Terrell Hales all had four fouls with 14 minutes to play.
The Vikings responded with an 11-3 run to open up a nine-point lead (54-45) with just over nine minutes to play and the lead was still seven (64-57) with 2:12 to play. However, the Flames continued their march to the foul line, hitting five free throws and a Dixson jumper with 31 seconds left tied the game at 64-64.
CSU had a chance to regain the lead on the other end, but Carpenter's jumper was off the mark and after UIC knocked the ball out of bounds, the Vikings were unable to get a shot off.
CSU finished 26-of-57 (.456) from the field and went 14-of-22 at the free throw line, while UIC was 21-of-50 (.420) from the floor and hit 26-of-48 (.542) from the charity stripe.
Both teams had 39 rebounds.
The Vikings are back in action on Thursday (Feb. 4) when CSU hosts Detroit at 7:30 pm in the Wolstein Center.
It will be a doubleheader with the CSU women also hosting Detroit at 5:30 pm.