MILWAUKEE, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Green Bay (6-9, 2-3 HL) looked to be in position for an impressive Horizon League road victory on Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Arena, but a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Milwaukee's Kaylon Williams instead handed the Phoenix a crushing 64-63 defeat.
Sophomore Terry Johnson (Chicago, Ill.) capped a late 10-0 run by Green Bay with a three-point play with 1:45 on the clock. Johnson's bucket and free throw put the Phoenix up 63-57.
Milwaukee (11-6, 4-1 HL) chipped away on the strength of its offensive rebounds, with a Ryan Allen putback and a pair of Paris Gulley free throws coming after a missed Panther shot.
The biggest offensive rebound came with 1.1 seconds to play, when Williams' missed layup deflected out of bounds off Green Bay. That set the stage for the game-winner, a triple from the left wing that went in after the horn sounded.
Led by freshman point guard Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.), who scored a career-high 20 points, Green Bay built an eight-point halftime lead (40-32). Sykes was 7-of-11 for 14 points in the opening half and finished 10-of-18 from the field with three assists and two steals.
The Green Bay offense was clicking in the first half, with Sykes having his way with the Panthers defense and junior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) and sophomore Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) scoring in the paint.
Cougill finished with 12 points and seven rebounds while Brown had eight points on just 3-of-9 shooting but added 12 rebounds, five blocks, three assists and three steals.
The 6-foot-9 Cougill had nine points in the opening five minutes, hitting all four of his field goals to help the Phoenix go ahead 16-8 with 14:49 to play. Sykes then scored six points during a 12-6 run that pushed the lead to 12 (34-22) with 5:46 remaining in the half. After the Panthers closed to six, Sykes drained a jumper with 44 seconds on the clock to give Green Bay the 40-32 halftime edge.
Green Bay shot 56.7 percent in the first half, hitting 17-of-30 field goals. The Phoenix also held the Panthers to just 38.9 percent (14-36).
After Sykes opened the second half with another bucket, Milwaukee scored the next 11 points to take its first lead of the game (43-42) with 15:11 to play.
The rest of the night was filled with runs from both teams, with Sykes capping a 5-0 Phoenix run with a dunk at the 11:35 mark to make it (49-45). Sykes' reaction to the play led to a technical, and the Panthers responded by scoring the next eight points.
Milwaukee led by four with just over five minutes to play before Green Bay's 10-0 run. Sykes started it with a layup, sophomore Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) scored five-straight points on a layup and a transition three to put green Bay ahead, and Johnson capped it with his three-point play with 1:45 left. Unfortunately for the Phoenix, Johnson's free-throw marked its last point.
After a three-game road trip in which it dropped three league games by a combined eight points, Green Bay returns home on Thursday to host Detroit at the Resch Center at 7 p.m. The Phoenix will also welcome Wright State to Green Bay on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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