Illinois-Chicago (10-6) at Green Bay (7-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Resch Center (9,729) -- Green Bay, Wisconsin. Television: Horizon League Network. Home Record: UIC 6-1, Green Bay 6-1. Away Record: UIC 2-4, Green Bay 0-7. Neutral Record: UIC 2-1, Green Bay 1-1. Conference Record: UIC 1-2, Green Bay 1-2. Series Record: Green Bay leads, 49-35.
GAME NOTES: Hoping to prevent their second three-game slide in the last seven games, the Flames of Illinois-Chicago take the floor at the Resch Center on Saturday afternoon versus the Green Bay Phoenix in Horizon League action.
UIC, which opened the 2012-13 campaign with nine wins in the first 10 outings, has hit the skids in recent weeks with five defeats in six games. Most recently, the team was in action on Wednesday night versus Valparaiso and was handed a 75-70 setback at home.
As for Green Bay, it began the new season positively with consecutive wins over Chicago State and Southern Utah, but then the defeats started piling up. Earlier this week, the Phoenix did manage to snap a two-game slide with a 58-45 victory over Loyola-Chicago, but still the team is just 1-2 in conference and two games under .500 overall.
Green Bay, which has won four straight home games, leads the series by a count of 49-35, posting a mark of 29-14 at home over the years as well. The Phoenix swept the two games played in 2011-12.
The Flames led by as many as nine points in the second half against Valpo, but eventually the squad came up light in the five-point decision at home. Gary Talton tried to keep hope alive as he tallied a career-high 25 points, converting 6-of-8 from the floor and all 11 of his chances at the free-throw line, followed by Josh Crittle and Hayden Humes who dropped in 16 and 12 points, respectively. Talton is now averaging a team-best 13.3 ppg, even though he is shooting only 38.3 percent from the floor. Just as importantly, the guard has issued a team-best 73 assists and is clearing 4.1 rpg which means he is willing to do whatever it takes to get the Flames into the win column. Defensively, this is a group holding the competition to just 29.9 percent shooting behind the 3-point line, en route to only 58.6 ppg.
The Green Bay defense was all over Loyola in the most recent game, particularly in the first half when the visitors were permitted to shoot just 5-of-26 from the floor, including 2-of-8 beyond the arc. Green Bay wasn't exactly setting the night on fire with 44.9 percent accuracy from the field for the game, but it was good enough to come away with the 13-point win thanks to Jordan Fouse with 13 points and 11 rebounds, not to mention seven steals. Keifer Sykes added 11 points and nine assists and Brennan Cougill 10 points in 16 minutes off the bench. Cougill, who has missed a handful of contests and come off the bench in three games, is second on the team in scoring with 11.8 ppg, but the fact that he can heat up as quickly as he does makes him a huge asset. Sykes (16.2 ppg) and Alec Brown (11.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg) are also key figures at both ends of the floor for the Phoenix.
As long as Cougill continues to be a factor and the defense for the Phoenix comes to play, expect the hosts to slip by in this meeting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Green Bay 63, Illinois-Chicago 60
01/12 10:43:49 ET