UIC eliminated by Sultan Muhammad’s three-pointer
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org March 8, 2013 11:28PM
Green Bay's Sultan Muhammad puts up the game winning three point shot in the final seconds against UIC Friday night during Horizon League tournament play at Valparaiso University. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 10, 2013 6:18AM
VALPARAISO, Ind. — UIC junior Hayden Humes marked his return to his hometown with a game-high 23 points Friday, but Green Bay junior guard Sultan Muhammad’s three-pointer with one second left gave the Phoenix a 64-63 victory.
The Flames (17-15) seemed to have the victory in hand when senior Gary Talton made two free throws with seven seconds left to break a 61-61 tie in this quarterfinal.
‘‘I didn’t think we had won because there were still seven seconds left, and that’s an eternity in basketball,’’ Talton said.
‘‘We tried our best to play defense, and [Muhammad] hit a miracle shot.’’
The Phoenix (18-14) will play No. 1 seed Valparaiso on Saturday in the semifinals.
‘‘I’m proud of our team,’’ said UIC coach Howard Moore, who hopes his team will be invited to a postseason tournament. ‘‘It hurts to see them hurt as much as they do. But Green Bay made the last shot that counted, and that’s all you can say.’’
Alec Brown led the Phoenix with 17 points, but Muhammad made the highlight shot on a pass from sophomore Keifer Sykes, the Chicago native and first-team All-Horizon League player.
‘‘We had a play to get the ball to Keifer on the run,’’ Phoenix coach Brian Wardle said. ‘‘I was trying to call a timeout, but luckily they didn’t see me. This one worked out for us.
‘‘They weren’t going to let Keifer get to the rim. It was a big play by Keifer [passing to Muhammad]. That’s being a point guard.’’
UIC trailed 34-29 at the half, but the game was tied at 61 with 1:25 left when Flames senior guard Daniel Barnes missed a jumper.
Green Bay’s Jordan Fouse missed two free throws with 44 seconds left after UIC senior Josh Crittle (12 points) fouled out.
Sykes fouled Talton (12 points) with seven seconds left, but his pass to Muhammad was vindication.
Humes had dominated the game, helping the Flames erase a 10-point deficit early in the second half.
‘‘I wanted to extend the season for our seniors, but they hit a big shot in the end,’’ Humes said.
‘‘UIC had four seniors out there laying it on the line,’’ said Wardle, a native of suburban Willowbrook. ‘‘And Hayden Humes had some unbelievable shots.’’