GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - With his frontcourt mate in significant foul trouble, junior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) ignited the Resch Center crowd yet again on Thursday night, and in the process the big man sent Green Bay (6-6) to its holiday break in winning fashion.
Cougill notched 13 rebounds in the opening half, and including scoring eight of the final nine Phoenix points, finished with career highs of 19 points and 19 rebounds as Green Bay defeated visiting Idaho (7-6) 63-61 in non-conference action. His 19 rebounds tied for the third-most in school history and also tied the record for rebounds in a game at the Resch Center.
The junior's effort was especially notable because sophomore Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.), the team's leading scorer and rebounder, was limited to 14 minutes due to foul trouble and finished with two points and one rebound.
"Brennan Cougill just stepped his game up and was a man-child out there tonight," said head coach Brian Wardle. "He was demanding the ball in the post, he was scoring in the post, he was passing it. He had great defensive plays and played a ton of minutes and fought through some fatigue in the second half. We needed him to step up and he did."
Twelve games into his Phoenix career, Cougill has already become a fan favorite in Green Bay, and for good reason. He is now averaging 11 points and 8.3 rebounds and is shooting 57.5 percent from three at home, where he has helped the Phoenix to a 6-0 record.
On Thursday, he started early on the scoreboard and on the glass. He hit a triple for the game's first basket and grabbed his 10th rebound with 5:35 left in the opening half. Green Bay led by as many as nine (29-20) in the half as nine different players scored. With Cougill notching seven points and 13 rebounds, the Phoenix went into halftime leading 32-29.
Senior Steve Baker (St. Paul, Minn.) hit a pair of three-pointers early in the second half to keep Green Bay in front, but a five-minute scoring drought followed and the Phoenix found themselves behind 43-38 with 10:39 to play.
Cougill came to the rescue with two free throws and a jumper in the paint, igniting a 14-4 Phoenix run that included two threes from sophomore Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) and another from Baker to put the hosts ahead 54-47.
Baker finished with 13 points, hitting 3-of-4 three-pointers, and Cerroni went 3-of-5 from long range and added 12 points in his second career start. Green Bay hit a season-high nine three-pointers on 20 attempts, with Cougill, Clayton Heuer (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) and Aaron Armstead (Chicago, Ill.) all making triple as well.
Idaho scored the next six points to cut it to one, but Cougill never let the Phoenix relinquish the lead. He was fouled in the paint and hit two free throws, then made a left-handed hook shot in the lane for a five-point edge with 2:40 on the clock.
After a Vandals bucket, he went to the right-handed hook, kissing it off the glass to put his squad up five again. He grabbed his 19th rebound after a potential tying three from Idaho missed with seven seconds remaining and then calmly iced the game with a pair of free throws.
"I hyave been working on my post game a lot just implementing the moves that [assistant coach Jimmie Foster] and I have been working on," said Cougill. "I was calling for the ball down there because I felt like I had a mismatch."
Cougill finished 6-of-10 from the field, 1-of-3 from long range and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He added three assists, three steals and two blocked shots in a team-high 34 minutes.
"It was nice coming home to the Resch and getting two home wins," Wardle said of the team's recent wins over Michigan Tech and Idaho. "This young group feeds off that crowd and I thought that really helped us too when we needed big stops. It was nice to get a couple of big wins at home before we hit the road in league play."
Green Bay hits the road next week to play at Butler on Thursday, Dec. 29 at 6 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The team will then play at Valparaiso (Dec. 31) and Milwaukee (Jan. 7) before returning home on Jan. 12 against Detroit.
Season tickets, Pick 5 packages and single-game tickets for both programs are currently on sale with the Green Bay ticket office. For more information on ticket packages and promotions, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com/tickets.
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