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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 5, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Resch Center (9,729) -- Green Bay, Wisconsin. Television: None. Home Record: UIC 2-9, Green Bay 11-1. Away Record: UIC 1-7, Green Bay 5-2. Neutral Record: UIC 2-2, Green Bay 2-1. Conference Record: UIC 0-9, Green Bay 8-1. Series Record: Green Bay leads, 50-37.
GAME NOTES: For the second time in just over two weeks, it is a matchup of worst-vs-first from the Horizon League as the Green Bay Phoenix host the slumping Flames of Illinois-Chicago at the Resch Center.
Green Bay, which is all alone atop the Horizon League standings with a record of 8-1, saw a 12-game win streak come to an end last week with a 75-60 defeat at the hands of Valparaiso, but rebounded nicely on Saturday with a 62-55 triumph versus Wright State.
Enjoying a 10-game home win streak coming into the week, Green Bay is a near- perfect 11-1 in its own building in 2013-14.
Meanwhile, the Flames continue to come up small in one game after another. This past weekend saw UIC host Valpo and be beaten down in a 70-46 final. The Flames are currently dealing with a 12-game slide and have defeated just one other Division I foe (Southeast Missouri) since the end of November.
In the first meeting of the season back on Jan. 19 the Phoenix barely survived on the road in a 69-64 final, as Alec Brown and Keifer Sykes posted 23 and 21 points, respectively. The Flames, led by Pat Birt with 13 points, hurt themselves with a mere 18-of-31 effort at the free-throw line as they fell even further behind in the all-time series (50-37).
The Flames went from converting only eight field goals in the first half of their meeting with Valpo over the weekend, resulting in a 13-point halftime deficit, to a mere seven baskets over the final 20 minutes of action, en route to the lopsided 24-point outcome. Not surprisingly, UIC didn't have a single player in double figures, although there were three (Jake Wiegand, Marc Brown and Kelsey Barlow) who tallied eight points as they combined to shoot a feeble 7-of-27 from the floor.
Barlow currently leads the Flames in scoring through 23 games with his 15.1 ppg, although he has made good on just 39.7 percent of his field goal chances and 31.4 percent behind the 3-point line. Barlow tries to make up for those deficiencies with a team-best 91 assists and 5.1 rpg, but still the squad hasn't responded well. Brown checks in with 12.4 ppg, but after that the scoring drops off considerably.
A tight battle throughout, one that featured seven ties and four lead changes, Green Bay's meeting with Wright State put the host's home record to the test. Greg Mays came up big for the hosts as he knocked down all but one of his 10 field goal chances and finished with 22 points, followed by Keifer Sykes with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. Alec Brown was off his game with only six points, four boards and three blocked shots, shooting 2-of-10 from the field.
Sykes leads the team in scoring with 20.6 ppg and is also first with his 112 assists as he keeps the offensive moving in so many ways. As for Brown, who recently sat out a game, he is second with 15.9 ppg and 6.0 rpg, but as important as those numbers are, his presence in the paint at the defensive end of the floor cannot be overstated as he's produced 69 blocked shots all by himself, the squad logging 161 rejections, compared to only 74 for the competition. By comparison, UIC has combined for a ridiculously low 39 blocked shots.
The defensive pressure that Brown and the Phoenix can bring to a game is tough to counter and while the Flames have some talent on their side of the floor, it just isn't enough to prevent a season sweep tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Green Bay 73, Illinois-Chicago 64
02/05 10:34:26 ET
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