By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Green Bay (19-4, 9-1 HL) staved off a strong showing from visiting UIC (5-19, 0-10 HL) on Wednesday night, blocking 11 shots and pulling away for an 81-70 victory in Horizon League men’s basketball action at the Resch Center. Senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) scored 20 points and junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) added 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to lead Green Bay to its 11th-straight home victory and 14th win in the past 15 games overall.
The 11 blocked shots on Wednesday are tied for the third-most in program history and give the Phoenix 172 rejections this season, breaking the program’s single-season blocks record of 162 set a season ago. Green Bay has broken the record in four-straight seasons.
Paced by 10 first-half points from Brown, Green Bay led 35-32 at halftime but each time the hosts tried to pull away, UIC answered with a big shot. At the 11:04 mark of the second half, Pat Birt tied the game at 57 with a three-pointer.
Sophomore Carrington Love (Milwaukee, Wis.) drained a three-pointer to give the Phoenix the lead for good, and freshman Kenneth Lowe (Little Chute, Wis.) scored on a back-to-back putbacks to put Green Bay in front 57-50 with 9:44 to play. Off the bench, Lowe matched his career high with eight points and added five rebounds and two blocks.
Green Bay’s lead was still only five with 3:51 to play, but Sykes found Love for a layup and after a defensive stop dished to Brown, who converted a three-point play for a 10-point lead (72-62) at the 2:41 mark.
Brown made 7-of-10 shots from the field en route to his seventh 20th-point game of 2013-14 and added three blocked shots in 32 minutes. Playing 37 minutes, Sykes scored 15 of his points after halftime, grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds and fell just three assists shy of his first triple-double.
Junior Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) quietly added nine points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots and sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) totaled seven points, nine rebounds and two rejections. The Phoenix held a 41-32 advantage in rebounding.
Green Bay reached double figures in blocks for the fourth time in 2013-14. Nine of the program’s top-14 single-game block efforts have occurred this season and 13 of the top-14 have happened in the four-year career of Brown. With 287 career blocks, Brown is just 23 blocks shy of breaking the Horizon League career record of 309 set last season by Youngstown State’s Damian Eargle.
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