Green Bay Starts World Vision Classic on Friday Night
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - After a hard-fought win in its season opener at home, Green Bay heads out west to begin a stretch of more than a month with seven of eight games away from the Resch Center. Things begin in Reno, the "Biggest Little City in the World" with the World Vision Classic hosted by Nevada at the Lawlor Events Center. The Phoenix takes on Southern Utah at 10:30 p.m. CT, the host Nevada on Saturday at 8:05 p.m. CT and finish up on Sunday against Cal State Fullerton at 3 p.m. CT.
In its program history, the Phoenix has played its three opponents in the tournament a combined two times - wins over Southern Utah and Cal State Fullerton in 1995 and 1997, respectively.
The Phoenix will be playing in a regular season tournament for the first time since appearing in the CBE Classic in 2010-11 when the team played at Marquette and then three games at Miami (OH). After his career-high 31 points in the opening win over Chicago State, sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) will play Friday as the nation's leading scorer. Sykes made a program record 17 free throws in the victory, in which Green Bay also broke the program record with 41 made free throws.
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX: Fans will be able to follow the action in numerous ways while the Phoenix is in Reno. All three games will be carried by WDUZ the Fan on either 107.5 FM (Friday-Saturday) or 1400 AM (Friday-Sunday) and online at thefan1075.com. The play-by-play voice of the Phoenix Matt Menzl will be on the call alongside Andrew Gavin.
The World Vision Classic Tournament Central includes links for live video, live stats and information on all three of the Phoenix opponents. Live video and live stats will be available for all six of the games in the tournament. Fans can purchase an account to watch every game for $10.95. Fans will just want to cancel their account following the weekend.
ELITE COMPANY: Junior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) was in elite company in 2011-12. The 7-foot-1 Brown, then a sophomore, was one of only two players to average at least 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks per game. The other? Kentucky's Anthony Davis, who was selected first overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Brown is a Preseason All-Horizon League First-Team selection heading into 2012-13.
WHERE HE LEFT OFF: Sykes picked up this season where he left off in 2011-12, winning the Horizon League's first player of the week honor. The 5-foot-11 guard posted a new career high with 31 points in the opening win over Chicago State. Then a freshman, Sykes also claimed the league's last weekly award in 2011-12 when he scored a career-high 27 points against another team from his hometown, at UIC.
OLD FOR 18: Sykes entered the 2012-13 season as a starting point guard and a team captain. He entered as a Preseason All-Horizon League Second-Team. He entered the year after a season in which he scored 335 points and was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team. Amazingly, he also entered as an 18-year old, and he will stay that way through the first 13 games of his sophomore campaign. After playing his first 13 games at age 17, Sykes is now averaging 15.6 in 18 games as an 18-year old.
ROAD TRIPPIN': Life on the road starts for the Phoenix in Reno, where it begins a stretch of four games in five days. After the World Vision Classic, Green Bay makes a trek to Moscow, Idaho to take on Idaho. In the midst of the current 35-day span, the Phoenix plays seven of its eight games away from its home floor.
NEVADA NEWCOMERS: The trip over 2,000 miles away to the Silver State is likely the first for many associated with the Phoenix, but it will also mark the first for the program. In its 44th season, Green Bay men's basketball has played 1,271 games but has never played a game in the state of Nevada or against a team from the state.
FREE FOR ALL: Green Bay's offensive struggles on Saturday did not stop the team from breaking long-standing school records or from surpassing 70 points. The Phoenix knocked down a school-record 41 free throws (41-48) against Chicago State, breaking a program record which had stood for 32-plus years since Feb. 23, 1980 (37 vs. Northland). Sykes had 17 of the team's free throws (17-19), breaking the individual record of 15 previously shared by Jeff Nordgaard (at Milwaukee, 1/15/95) and Dennis Woelffler (vs. Dominican, 2/19/70).
THIRTY-SOMETHING: Sykes' effort against Chicago State was the first 30-point game by a Phoenix player since Troy Cotton tallied 36 at Akron on March 17, 2010 and the first under head coach Brian Wardle. It was also the fifth time that a Phoenix player had notched 30 or more points in the Resch Center and first since Ryan Tillema scored 32 against UIC on Feb. 25, 2008.
THIS IS GREEN BAY BASKETBALL: The 2012-13 season will be the 44th in the history of the Green Bay men's basketball program. Since the first year of Green Bay men's basketball in 1969-70, the program has an all-time record of 759-513.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: A season after facing a non-conference schedule among the nation's toughest, Green Bay will again take on a challenging slate in 2012-13. The non-conference opponents include teams from the BIG EAST (Marquette), Big Ten (Wisconsin), Atlantic Coast Conference (Virginia), WAC (Nevada and Idaho) and Missouri Valley (Southern Illinois).
BLOCK PARTY: It has become a little tougher for Green Bay opponents to shoot in the lane since Brown's arrival on campus. In his first two seasons, the 7-foot-1 Brown has swatted 156 shots to shatter the Phoenix career record. With 89 blocks as a sophomore, Brown averaged 3.0 per game, a number that ranked in the top-10 nationally. Another 36 combined blocks from Brennan Cougill and Mays helped the team register a school-record 142 for the year.
TALL ORDER: Wardle pledged early on in his tenure to add height and length to the Phoenix roster. Consider it mission accomplished as the roster's 14 players have an average height of over 6-foot-5. The addition of the 7-foot-1 Bross gives Green Bay a pair of seven-footers, and six others stand at least 6-foot-6. Newcomers McKinnie (6-8), Arenz (6-8) and Fouse (6-7) will help to make Green Bay one of the tallest teams in the Horizon League. Sykes is the roster's lone player under six feet tall.
Read a full season preview of the men's basketball team and watch a 1-on-1 interview with Wardle.
Full season ticket and Pick 5 packages are on sale now with the Green Bay Athletics Ticket Office. For more information and to order tickets, please call 920.465.2625, visit the athletics department offices in the Kress Events Center or access GreenBayPhoenix.com/tickets.
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