- Cleveland State rallied from 13 points down in the first half to tie the game with 10.1 seconds to play
- Tyree Appleby finished with 16 points, five assists and four rebounds in 21 minutes
- Rashad Williams was 4-of-8 from the three-point line and had 12 points
- Dibaji Walker added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Vikings
- Cleveland State shot 56.3 percent from the three-point line in the second half
CLEVELAND -- Tyree Appleby scored 16 second-half points, but a late Vikings rally fell short as UIC defeated Cleveland State 81-77 in a Horizon League game on Thursday in the Wolstein Center.
The Vikings, who trailed by six points with 4:44 to play, fought all the way back to tie the game.
Rashad Williams drilled a three-pointer to trim the lead to 73-70, but Marcus Ottey answered with a layup to push the lead to 75-70 with 2:49 remaining in the game.
Appleby converted a twisting layup and later added a pair of free throws to bring the Vikings to within 75-74 at the 2:01 mark of the second half.
Ottey, who finished with a game-high 20 points, extended the lead to 77-74 on a layup with 1:47 remaining in the game.
Cleveland State, which dropped to 7-20 overall and 2-12 in the Horizon League, tied the game when Williams drained a long three-pointer with the shot clock winding down.
Ottey answered for the Flames as he converted a layup with 10.1 seconds remaining giving UIC the lead for good.
Cleveland State had a chance to tie, or take the lead, but the Vikings turned the ball over and Tarkus Ferguson sealed the game with a pair of free throws with 3.6 seconds to play.
UIC, which won for the fourth straight time, improved to 14-12 overall and 8-5 in the Horizon League. The Flames shot 50.9 percent from the floor for the game and were 8-of-16 from the three-point line in the first half.
The first half featured a back-and-forth affair until the Flames used a late run to take a double-figure lead into halftime.
With Appleby saddled with two early fouls, the Vikings had to look elsewhere for offense and got nine first-half points from Stefan Kenic.
Trailing by four, Cleveland State got a free throw from Dontel Highsmith, a three-pointer from Kasheem Thomas and a layup from Seth Millner to take a 26-24 lead with 8:24 to play in the opening period.
The Flames reeled off a 7-0 run to take a 31-26 lead, but the Vikings responded with back-to-back baskets from Jaalam Hill and Kenic to cut the lead to 31-30 at the 5:12 mark of the first period.
UIC ripped off a 14-2 run capped by a dunk by Michael Diggins to take a 45-32 lead at the 1:57 mark of the first. The Vikings scored the final two points of the first half to cut the Flames lead to 45-34 at intermission.
Cleveland State returns to action on Saturday (Feb. 16) against IUPUI at 7 p.m. in the Wolstein Center. This marks the Vikings final home game of the season and also will be senior day for David Payne and Dontel Highsmith.