Men's basketball

Green Bay's Muhammad shoots down Flames in final seconds

2013-03-08T22:00:00Z 2013-03-09T23:47:05Z Green Bay's Muhammad shoots down Flames in final secondsPaul Jankowski Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 08, 2013 10:00 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | For 39 minutes, 58.7 seconds of Friday night's Horizon League Tournament matchup against Green Bay, UIC junior Hayden Humes was having the best game of his college career.

The Valparaiso High graduate shined in his hometown at the Athletics-Recreation Center, scoring a career-high 23 points on 10-for-12 shooting while grabbing a team-high five rebounds.

But Green Bay junior guard Sultan Muhammad hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 1.3 seconds remaining to give the No. 4 seed Phoenix a shocking 64-63 victory over the No. 5 Flames and a shot at No. 1 Valparaiso in tonight's semifinals.

UIC coach Howard Moore was stunned by the loss but not at a loss of words regarding Humes' effort.

"I was really hoping that he would be excited to be back home and to give a great effort," Moore said. "He's had some moments here and he's played well against Green Bay. We were hoping he'd come out with the gleam in his eye and the basket would be bigger than normal.

"He made some tough shots and was hitting the bottom of the net. I was hoping that would be enough to get us over the hump, but obviously it wasn't."

Humes' previous best was a 22-point performance against Iona on Nov. 19. He had 18 in a 60-57 win over Green Bay in Chicago on Jan. 31.

"My teammates were giving me the ball and I just had some shots fall," Humes said. "I wanted to extend the season for our seniors but they hit a big shot at the end."

After sitting out 2 1/2 minutes midway through the second half after picking up his third foul, Humes nailed a 3-pointer off an out-of-bounds play to tie the score at 48-48 with 9:29 remaining.

And with 3:04 remaining, Humes hit another 3-pointer to give the Flames a 59-58 lead. It was UIC's first lead since 15-14 midway through the first half.

"He's really active on offense," Muhammad said of Humes. "With his ability to come off screens it's hard to keep track of him. He's accurate and aggressive. A lot of our defense is focused on (UIC's Gary) Talton and (Daniel) Barnes, but he hurt us. He's a crafty player."

In the final minute, Green Bay freshman Jordan Fouse missed a pair of free throws with 44.1 seconds remaining and the score tied at 61-61. With seven seconds remaining, Talton gave his team a 63-61 lead by hitting a pair from the line.

That set up the final sequence, as first-team all-conference point guard Keifer Sykes brought the ball up the court and passed off to an open Muhammad in front of the Green Bay bench. Muhammad drained the 3-pointer with Talton in his face.

"We were just trying to see what we could get," Muhammad said. "(Sykes) saw that I was open and I just had to take the opportunity. There wasn't a choice with time running down."

Green Bay coach Brian Wardle considered calling a timeout, because the plan was for Sykes to drive the lane. The Flames successfully cut that off, but didn't do enough to stop Muhammad.

"They were corralling Keifer, they weren't going to let him get to the rim," Wardle said. "But he made that one last pass to the wing and we stepped up and made a big shot.

"The whole bench thought it was good as soon as it left his hands."

Green Bay (18-14) was led by 7-foot-1 Alec Brown with 17 points. Sykes added 14 points.

For UIC (17-15), Talton and Josh Crittle added 12 points apiece. The Flames, who started the season 8-1, are now going to hope for some sort of a postseason tournament bid.

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