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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 31, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UIC Pavilion (8,000) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: HLN. Home Record: Green Bay 9-1, UIC 8-1. Away Record: Green Bay 1-8, UIC 3-6. Neutral Record: Green Bay 1-1, UIC 2-1. Conference Record: Green Bay 5-3, UIC 4-4. Series Record: Green Bay leads, 50-35.
GAME NOTES: Winners of five of their last six outings, the Green Bay Phoenix try to keep the good times rolling on Thursday night as they contend against the Flames of Illinois-Chicago in Horizon League action at UIC Pavilion.
Heading into the second week of January, Green Bay had a record of just 6-9 overall, but the squad has turned the corner and is now 5-3 in league play. Last Friday night, the Phoenix rose up to conquer the Milwaukee Panthers in a lopsided 74-54 final on the road, the team's first true road win of the campaign in nine tries.
As for the Flames, a team which opened the 2012-13 season with nine wins in 10 opportunities, they've won three of their last four outings in order to even their conference mark at 4-4. Last Saturday, the squad delivered a 55-49 win over Wright State at the Nutter Center, which means the group has given up just 99 combined points in the last two games after being pummeled by Detroit on Jan. 19 in a 98-47 setback.
Green Bay won the first meeting of the season back on Jan. 12 at home by a score of 53-47. Alec Brown scored a game-high 21 points, pulled down eight rebounds and blocked four shots for the Phoenix as they increased their advantage over UIC in the all-time series to 50-35.
On his way to being named the Horizon League Player of the Week, Alec Brown scored a career-high 23 points in the win over Milwaukee at the Klotsche Center last Friday night. Brown, who also became the 25th player in program history to score at least 1,000 points in his career, cleared eight rebounds and recorded three blocks in the triumph. Keifer Sykes and Brennan Cougill chipped in with 16 and 12 points, respectively. Thanks in part to his 81.2 percent shooting at the free-throw line this season, Sykes paces the team in scoring with 15.3 ppg, accounting for a team-best 88 assists over 21 games as well. Brown (12.6 ppg) handles the action on the inside for Green Bay with his 6.7 rpg, as does Cougill (11.5 ppg) who is responsible for another 6.2 rpg to help provide the team with a cushion on the glass.
There was some sloppy play on both sides during UIC's meeting with Wright State last weekend, but even with 20 turnovers the Flames were able to grab the road win against the Raiders. Gary Talton posted 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, in an effort to offset his six miscues, while Josh Crittle tacked on 11 points. Defensively, the Flames held Wright State to just 33.3 percent from the floor and 2-of-19 on the outside, while forcing 16 turnovers. A strong defense has been keeping the Flames competitive this season, limiting the opposition to only 59.3 ppg on 29.3 percent accuracy behind the 3-point line. However, the offense for the squad has not been able to gain much separation from those foes, generating 61.1 ppg from the efforts of Talton (13.3 ppg), Daniel Barnes (10.9 ppg) and Hayden Humes (10.2 ppg).
The Flames don't have an overwhelming presence in the paint like Green Bay does in Brown and since he was able to control the action in the first meeting between the teams this season, unless UIC has something in the game plan, he'll probably do it again on Thursday night.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Green Bay 63, Illinois-Chicago 55
01/31 10:38:53 ET