Strong Second Half Fires Green Bay Past UIC in Chicago
CHICAGO, Ill. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Green Bay scored 56 points in the second half at the UIC Pavilion on Tuesday night, winning its final road game of the regular season 87-79 over UIC to move into sole possession of third place in the Horizon League. The Phoenix (17-11, 11-5 HL) enjoyed a 15-0 run late in the second half to put away the Flames (14-15, 7-9 HL), setting up a key matchup on Friday night against Oakland.
With Green Bay moving to 11-5 in Horizon League play and Oakland improving to 12-4 after defeating Youngstown State on Tuesday evening in a full night of Horizon League action, Friday night’s game at the Resch Center carries plenty of weight for both teams. With Valparaiso in control of the No. 1 seed, the winner between Green Bay and Oakland will gain a strong hold of the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Motor City Madness in Detroit.
Green Bay defeated Oakland earlier this season in Michigan, with the potential season sweep giving it the tiebreaker for tournament seeding.
The Phoenix entered the half against UIC trailing 38-31 after missing 13 of its final 14 shots from the field to close out the first half. The second half was a different story for Green Bay, as the team outscored UIC 56-41, thanks to four made 3s by Warren Jones in the first four minutes of the final 20 minutes.
Jones finished with a season-high and game-high 22 points thanks to a 5-for-7 effort from 3-point range and a perfect 7-for-7 at the free throw line. Jones had made just one 3 in the last four games, but came through with five when his team needed a spark out of the locker room.
Charles Cooper (18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds) and Kerem Kanter (11 points and 13 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles in the contest, the second time this season the Phoenix has had two players do so in the same game. Cooper and Kanter are the only two players on the roster to have recorded a double-double, with Kanter getting the sixth of his career and Cooper the third.
In his return to his hometown, Khalil Small scored 15 points and went 2-for-2 from downtown. Small also grabbed six rebounds and came through with clutch plays in the second half to keep Green Bay in front.
Jamar Hurdle was the fifth player to reach double-figures for Green Bay, scoring 10 points off the bench. The Phoenix is now 5-1 and 3-0 in Horizon League play when five players score 10 or more points.
Both teams shot 38 percent in the game and the Phoenix outrebounded the Flames 57-50 and received 50 points off the bench, its second-highest total this season.
UIC was led by Tai Odiase, who recorded a 16-point and 12-rebound double-double. The Flames also had five players in double-figures.
Green Bay will return home for the final weekend of the regular season, playing host to Oakland (Friday, Feb. 24, 6 p.m.) and Detroit Mercy (Sunday, Feb. 26, 2 p.m.). Friday night will be Bud Light Night ($2 24 oz. beers), Varsity GB, Alumni Night and Rock The Resch. Fans can purchase limited tickets available here.
Sunday's game will be Senior Day, as the program will recognize its six seniors prior to tip-off.
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