Phoenix Rallies Past UIC for 10th-Straight Victory
CHICAGO, Ill. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – For the second-straight Sunday, the Green Bay men’s basketball team found itself in a second half hole down the stretch of a Horizon League road game. For the second-straight Sunday, junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) scored seven points in the final three minutes to spark a Phoenix rally. This time around, four of the points came from emphatic dunks and Green Bay (15-3) did not need overtime to win, downing UIC (5-14, 0-5 HL) 69-64.
Senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) scored a game-high 23 points and Sykes scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half to lead the Phoenix to the first 10-game winning streak for the program since 1995-96. With a four-game road win streak in the books, Green Bay returns home this week to host Oakland (Wednesday, 7 p.m.) and Detroit (Sunday, 1 p.m.) at the Resch Center.
After leading by 10 points early and 33-29 at halftime, Green Bay trailed by as many as eight points in the second half. With 4:16 to play, UIC led 63-60 and the Flames were still in front 63-61 at the final media timeout with three minutes remaining.
Head coach Brian Wardle drew up a play for Sykes, his 5-foot-11 point guard, who delivered with a monster dunk to tie the game at 63-63 with 2:38 to play. After UIC missed a pair of free throws, Sykes drained a 25-footer to give the Phoenix a 66-63 lead with 1:51 remaining.
After a UIC free throw with 1:11 on the clock closed the margin to two, the teams traded empty possessions before sophomore Carrington Love (Milwaukee, Wis.) was fouled with 11 seconds on the clock. Love made the first but saw the second carom off the back iron, giving the host Flames a chance to tie the game.
Kelsey Barlow attempted to get free at the top of the key, but sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) stripped the ball and passed it ahead to Sykes, who used his 44.5 inch vertical to slam home two more points and seal Green Bay’s fifth consecutive road win.
Sykes finished with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists on 7-of-14 shooting from the field. His 11th 20-point game of the season and the Phoenix victory looked in doubt when he picked up two fouls and scored just two points on two shots in the first half.
His fellow All-League teammate picked up the slack for the Phoenix in the first half. The 7-foot-1 Brown made his first six shots from the field and scored 13 of his 23 points in the first 20 minutes of action. Brown made 9-of-11 shots from the field, and he added three blocked shots to his fourth 20-point game in the past five Phoenix contests.
In Green Bay’s two road wins this weekend at Wright State and UIC, Brown averaged 23.5 points while shooting 77.3 percent from the field (17-22).
The Green Bay defense held UIC without a field goal for the final eight minutes and 38 seconds of game action. The Flames finished the game at 42.9 percent from the field (21-49) while Green Bay made 23-of-47 shots for 48.9 percent.
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