Seniors Lead Green Bay to the Horizon League Title Game
By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
VALPARAISO, Ind. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Three seniors combined for 53 points on Saturday night as No. 2 seed Green Bay (24-7) used an impressive second half to pull away from No. 6 UIC and advance to the championship game of the 2015 Horizon League Championships with a 70-56 victory.
Green Bay is in the conference title game for the first time since 1998. Head coach Brian Wardle’s team will play Tuesday night at 6 p.m., facing either top-seeded Valparaiso on the road or hosting fourth-seeded Cleveland State, pending the result of Saturday’s second semifinal.
Senior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.), the two-time Horizon League Player of the Year, scored 23 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, helping the Phoenix come back from a 30-29 halftime deficit. Fellow seniors Alfonzo McKinnie (Chicago, Ill.) and Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) added 13 and 10 points, respectively. The three seniors combined to shoot 18-of-33 from the field, including seven dunks.
Trailing 32-29 after the opening possession of the second half, Green Bay rattled off a 14-2 run to take a 43-34 lead with 13:37 to play. Sykes scored the first six points of the run before McKinnie drained three-pointers on consecutive possessions.
The lead remained in double digits for the final nine and a half minutes, thanks in large part to highlight reel plays from Sykes. On two occasions in the second half, Sykes was found for alley-oop lob dunks along the right baseline by junior Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.). Fouse finished with six points, seven rebounds and eight assists for the Phoenix.
Green Bay shot 59.3 percent in the second half (16-27) after making only 8-of-22 shots in the first half. The Phoenix connected on 5-of-13 three-pointers and 17-of-22 from the free-throw line.
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