Game #9-465: Illinois-Chicago Flames at Green Bay PhoenixMarch 8, 2013 8:30 pm
This was a very entertaining game, much more entertaining than last year's 4-5 game. In fact both quarterfinal games this year were much more exciting than last year.
For the 2nd year in a row, the 5 seed has more fan support than the 4 seed. UIC brought a healthy contingent of students along with their pep band, though they did not completely fill their section. They did arrive during the 2nd half of the YSU-WSU game. Green Bay brought no one but their pep band and cheerleaders. The upper level remained completely empty.
For aficionados of the old Mid-Continent conference or current fans of Georgia State, I must report that Green Bay coach Brian Wardle has a lot of Ron Hunter in him. He constantly jumps around up and down the sideline, waving his arms and gesturing to his players during live action. Several times when UIC had the ball near the Green Bay bench, Wardle could be seen double teaming the ball carrier. At the Mid-Con tournaments, Ron Hunter was always worth the price of admission all by himself. Brian's got a ways to go to reach Ron Hunter-esque proportions, but he'll get there, I'm sure.
Green Bay pep band was all by itself in rooting on its team (the section behind their bench was maybe half full and I don't recall them making a lot of noise on a regular basis), but these folks had a different taunt for every single UIC free throw opportunity. I could not completely understand any of them, but if they make it to the semifinals, I'll be sitting very close to them so hopefully I'll catch at least a few.
It wasn't necessarily textbook basketball, but there were tons of superlative performances. Hometown boy Hayden Humes, VHS alum, did anything and everything in this game - draining 3s, hitting contested 2s. The only thing he didn't do so well was stay out of foul trouble. But offensively, Green Bay had no answer for him. Unfortunately, even as UIC was making their run in the 2nd half, I kept asking, "That's great, but UIC can you play defense?"
UIC spent most of the game keeping Green Bay from running away with it, but they finally tied it a couple of times down the stretch before taking the lead on a Humes 3. The final minute was some of the most nerve-wracking basketball I've ever seen. Each team failed once, before UIC had the ball with about 41 seconds to go, almost, but not quite enough to hold for last shot. Gary Talton finally found a lane to the basket but his shot was swatted out of bounds with 2 seconds to go on the shot clock. A WSU fan looking on with intense interest called a Talton turnaround 3 off the in-bounds pass. A few seconds later he added, "by which I meant Talton on the line for 2 FTs" thanks to a Keifer Sykes ill-advised foul. Talton drained both FTs, but as I noted to a friend of mine, there's still 7 seconds to go. Sure enough, Sykes got the ball across the time line with about 4 seconds to go. I thought he was going to find a lane to the basket, but UIC just closed him off in time, so he passed out to Sultan Muhammad on the wing, who drained a 3 over his defender. Talton tried a half-court shot at the buzzer, but he air-balled it, and the Flames were left in anguish (one player pounding his fists on the floor). Keifer's anguish turned into their anguish. And here's the excruciating part: Brian Wardle was frantically trying to call a timeout during that final sequence, but the referees didn't hear him.It always ends in pain and heartache, though I'll apparently have to exempt the 2 UIC fans walking near me as I left the ARC. Were they aching for their team's bitter defeat? No, they were commenting nonchalantly on the Blackhawks game in which Colorado was beating Chicago 5-1. When I got to my car and tuned into 720 AM, I discovered that the hockey game wasn't even over yet, but still had 20 minutes of regulation time to go. Of course, this would turn out to be the end at long last of the Blackhawks streak of not losing in regulation. Still, I found it interesting that a pair of Flames fans were more interested in the end of a pro hockey streak than about the excruciating end of their team's season.
at GREEN BAY 64, ILLINOIS-CHICAGO 63
ILLINOIS-CHICAGO 17-15 (7-9) -- D. Barnes 1-10 3-4 5; G. Talton 4-10 4-4 12; H. Humes 10-12 1-2 23; J. Crittle 5-8 2-3 12; M. Brown 1-5 0-0 3; A. Kelley 2-2 0-0 6; W. Simonton 0-0 0-0 0; J. Wiegand 0-0 2-2 2; J. Miller 0-1 0-0 0; J. Parker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-49 12-15 63.
GREEN BAY 18-14 (10-6) -- J. Fouse 4-6 0-2 8; A. Brown 4-8 6-8 17; K. Sykes 6-15 0-0 15; S. Muhammad 2-6 2-2 7; G. Mays 3-4 2-4 8; B. Cougill 2-4 0-0 4; C. Stefan 1-4 0-0 3; C. Love 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 23-50 10-16 64.
Three-point goals: UIC 5-13 (D. Barnes 0-5; A. Kelley 2-2; H. Humes 2-3; M. Brown 1-1; G. Talton 0-1; J. Parker 0-1), GB 8-18 (B. Cougill 0-1; C. Stefan 1-2; A. Brown 3-6; K. Sykes 3-4; S. Muhammad 1-5); Rebounds: UIC 23 (H. Humes 5), GB 25 (J. Fouse 9); Assists: UIC 9 (G. Talton 6), GB 11 (K. Sykes 4); Total Fouls -- UIC 17, GB 15; Fouled Out: UIC-J. Crittle; GB-None.
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