Jelani Simmons Scores Career High in Loss at UIC

Jelani Simmons (Photo by Jamie Hall)
Jelani Simmons (Photo by Jamie Hall)

Chicago, Ill. -- Freshman Jelani Simmons scored a career-high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor, but the Youngstown State men's basketball team dropped a 78-63 decision to UIC on Thursday evening at the Credit Union 1 Arena.

The Penguins fall to 5-13 overall and 1-4 in the Horizon League while UIC improves to 8-9 overall and 2-2 in the league.

UIC scored the first 14 points of the game and led the entire game. The Penguins went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 14-9, but the Flames scored the next 10 points to build a 24-9 lead with 10:55 left in the first half.

Youngstown State again scored nine straight on two baskets by Naz Bohannon, who had 14 rebounds, and Noe Anabir and a 3-pointer by Michael Akuchie to get back within six, 24-18, at the 8:03 mark.

From that point, UIC outscored the Penguins 21-5 to take a 45-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Penguins outscored the Flames 40-33 in the second half, but the deficit was too much to make up. 

Youngstown State shot just 30.8 percent from the field, but made 10 3-pointers. UIC connected on 55.4 percent from the floor and made 14 3s.

UIC's Tarkus Ferguson led the Flames with 23 points and made seven 3-pointers, all in the first half.

The Penguins close out their four-game road swing at IUPUI on Saturday at 1 p.m.