By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Winners of five-straight home games, the Green Bay men's basketball team (8-9, 2-2 HL) continues its four-game homestand against a Youngstown State team (9-7, 1-2 HL) that ended the season for the Phoenix in 2011-12. The Phoenix will host the Penguins at the Resch Center at 7 p.m., aiming to enact some revenge against the Penguins, who posted a 77-60 win over Green Bay in the opening round of the 2012 Horizon League Championship.
The current homestand has started with two impressive defensive performances as Green Bay claimed wins over Loyola (58-45) and UIC (53-47). All-Horizon League junior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) sparked the win over the Ramblers on Saturday, tallying 21 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. The 7-foot-1 junior has now scored 941 points and swatted 179 shots in his career at Green Bay.
Youngstown State features a First-Team All-Horizon League player of its own in junior Kendrick Perry. The guard ranks third in the conference in scoring at 16.0 points per game and fifth in assists per game.
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX: For fans unable to make it to the Resch Center on Thursday night, the contest will be streamed live on ESPN3.com. Greg Rakestraw will be the play-by-play announcer for the broadcast while Joel Cornette will serve as the color analyst. To watch live, click here.
The game will also be carried live by WDUZ The Fan 107.5 FM and online at thefan1075.com. The play-by-play voice of the Phoenix Matt Menzl will be on the call alongside Cordero Barkley. Live stats will be available on GreenBayPhoenix.com. You can also stay up-to-date by following @GBPhoenixMBB and @GBGavin on Twitter.
1. INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay leads the all-time series with Youngstown State 24-8 and has won 15 of the 16 meetings with the Penguins in Green Bay. The Phoenix has won nine-straight meetings at home dating back to a 65-61 loss on March 4, 2003. Green Bay has never lost to the Penguins in Green Bay in regular season play.
2. DEFENDING THE HOME COURT: Green Bay has won five-straight games at the Resch Center on the strength of stifling defense. The Phoenix has not allowed more than 55 points and has held four opponents in the 40s during the stretch. In the last five games at the Resch Center, Green Bay foes are shooting just 33.8 percent and averaging 47.4 points per game.
3. WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?: Brown has played well in the team's home winning streak, averaging 14.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He has also blocked four shots in each of the last two games and is closing in on 1,000 career points (941) and 200 career blocked shots (179).
• LAST SEASON'S MEETINGS: Last year, Sykes had 17 points and 10 assists as the Phoenix won 71-65 at the Resch Center on Feb. 14, 2012. Youngstown State won both games in Ohio, defeating the Phoenix 77-47 on Jan. 22 and 77-60 in the opening round of the Horizon League Championship. In the three games, Brown led the Phoenix averaging 14.7 points per game while Penguin senior guard Blake Allen scored 16.7 points per game in the season series.
• HOME SWEET HOME: Green Bay is 7-1 at home this season after five consecutive victories. In the past three seasons under head coach Brian Wardle, the Phoenix is 29-7 at the Resch Center, including a 19-3 mark since the start of the 2011-12 season. Sykes is averaging 19.6 points and 5.3 assists per game and is 52-of-64 from the free-throw line at home this season.
• FREE AND EASY: Green Bay is among the top free-throw shooting teams in the Horizon League, and its 74.5 percent from the line ranks 28th nationally. The Phoenix is 272-340 on the season and, among teams ranked in the top-30 nationally in free-throw percentage, Green Bay has made the fifth-most free throws.
• RECORD STREAK: With a miss against UIC, junior Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) saw his school-record free throw streak of 40 consecutive free throws come to an end. Cerroni broke the record of 38 previously held by Matt Rohde (2002-03) with a pair of free throws at Detroit on Jan. 5, and his streak dated back to Feb. 4, 2012. The junior is now 28-of-29 at the charity stripe this season.
• KAM CATCHING FIRE: Cerroni led the Horizon League in three-point percentage as a sophomore in 2011-12 but struggled early this season from long range. However, Cerroni is starting to catch fire. He drained all three of his attempts from beyond the arc against Loyola, and since Dec. 12 at Wisconsin, Cerroni is shooting 44.8 percent (13-29) from three-point range.
• HANDLE THE ROCK: Since a forgettable opener in which he committed eight turnovers without an assist, Sykes has been terrific handling the ball. With an assist-to-turnover ratio better than 2-to-1, Sykes has 70 assists compared to just 32 turnovers in the past 16 games. In addition to ranking fourth in the conference in points, he is sixth in assists (4.1) and tied for fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8).
- Shooting 74.5%, @GBPhoenixMBB at the free-throw line, ranking 28th nationally #gophoenix #HLMBB
- In the past three seasons, @GBPhoenixMBB is 29-7 at the @reschcenter, inc. 19-3 in last two years #gophoenix #HLMBB
- With wins over Loyola and UIC, @GBPhoenixMBB improved to 7-0 in the past two years against Chicago teams #gophoenix #HLMBB
- Sophomore Keifer Sykes has scored in double figures in 15 of 17 games this year and 30 of his last 34 games #gophoenix #HLMBB
- Five different @GBPhoenixMBB players ave led the team in scoring in the past five games #gophoenix #HLMBB
- Since 0 assists and 8 turnovers in the opener, Keifer Sykes has 70 assists and just 32 turnovers #gophoenix #HLMBB
- Alec Brown has knocked down 9 three-pointers this season after making just 6 total in his first 2 years #gophoenix #HLMBB
- This season, @GBPhoenixMBB is 6-0 when leading with five minutes to play and 2-8 when trailing #gophoenix #HLMBB
Single-game tickets are on sale 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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