Riverside, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Nick Gruninger's layup in the final moments proved to be the game winner as the UC Riverside Highlanders pulled out a 57-56 win over the Illinois-Chicago Flames in non-conference action at SRC Arena.
Gruninger finished the night with 11 points and five rebounds for the Highlanders (4-6), while Chris Patton accounted for 15 points and eight boards off the bench. Taylor Johns checked in with a double-double consisting of 12 points and a team-best 10 rebounds as UCR snapped a two-game slide.
The Flames (5-7) were paced by Kelsey Barlow who tallied 17 points and eight rebounds, although he shot just 1-of-5 behind the 3-point line and was guilty of half the unit's 10 turnovers. Hayden Humes pitched in with 11 points, followed by Jordan Harks and Jake Wiegand with 10 points apiece, the latter adding nine rebounds off the bench,
UIC shot just 37.0 percent from the field in the first half and while the visitors were able to hold the Highlanders to just 1-of-5 shooting beyond the arc in the period, it was UC Riverside that claimed a 33-26 edge at the break.
The Highlanders shot only 8-of-24 from the floor, including 2-of-6 beyond the arc, over the final 20 minutes but thanks to Gruninger all of that was just enough to get the home team over the hump.
In a game that featured six ties and nine lead changes, UCR's bench outscored the UIC reserves by a 23-10 margin.