By: Michael Raines
VALPARAISO, Ind. (GreenBayPhoenix.com)
- Trailing by two in a Horizon League Championship quarterfinal, Green Bay
junior Sultan Muhammad (Grand Rapids, Mich.) hit
a 3-pointer from the right wing with just seconds left on the clock to give the
No. 4 Phoenix a 64-63 win over No. 5 UIC despite a career-best 23-point effort
by Flames junior and Valparaiso native Hayden Humes.
It appeared UIC had all but secured a come-from-behind win when senior guard Gary Talton hit a pair of free
throws with seven seconds on the clock, but the Phoenix advanced the ball
quickly up the floor and found Muhammad on the wing for the game-winner from in
front of the Green Bay bench as it appeared head coach Brian Wardle was signaling for
Green Bay (18-14) advanced to tomorrow night's semifinal
round. The Phoenix will face No. 1 seed Valparaiso at 7:30 p.m. EST.
"The way Coach drew it up, we intended for [Keifer
Sykes] to blaze past them and see what he could get. Coach
wanted a timeout," Muhammad said of the final play. "Obviously, we didn't get
it, and [Sykes] saw that I was open. I just had to take the opportunity. There
really wasn't any other choice with the time winding down."
"I was trying to call a timeout," Wardle admitted. "Luckily, in the chaos of
the game - the noise - they didn't see me or hear me, so I'm thankful for
Green Bay controlled much of the game, including holding a 34-29 lead at
UIC chipped away in the late minutes of the second half, led by Humes. The
hometown hero scored 12 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and gave
the Flames their first lead since the score was 15-14 with a 3-pointer at the
2:46 mark to put UIC ahead 59-58.
The game was tied 61-61 with just over a minute remaining as the teams traded
baskets down the stretch. With 44.1 seconds left and the score still knotted,
Green Bay freshman Jordan Fouse
- an All-Newcomer honoree - missed a pair of free throws, leading to Talton's
free throws that briefly gave UIC the lead. Fouse had eight points and nine
rebounds in the game.
Muhammad had been just 1-of-5 from long range before hitting his game-winning 3-pointer.
He finished with seven points for the Phoenix, which was led by Brown's 17
points. First-Team All-Horizon League standout Keifer Sykes (Chicago,
Ill.) had 12 points and five assists, including the one on the Muhammad
UIC was led by Humes' 23, while Talton and Josh
Crittle each poured in 12 points. The Flames fall to 17-15 and
will wait to see if they play in the postseason.
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets can be
purchased for Saturday night by visiting ValpoAthletics.com,
calling 219-464-5233 or by visiting the Valparaiso University Ticket Office,
located in the main lobby of the ARC (extended hours of 10 a.m.-7 p.m. this
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