ESPNU Clash Between Green Bay and Milwaukee Set for Friday
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Green Bay (10-10, 4-3 HL) and Milwaukee (5-15, 1-5 HL) renew one of the best rivalries in the Horizon League on Friday night when the two teams meet inside the Klotsche Center at 8 p.m. CT. The contest between the two in-state foes will be televised nationally on ESPNU with Jim Barbar (play-by-play) and Malcolm Huckaby (color analyst) on the call.
Both teams will be coming off disappointing road losses on Wednesday night. The Phoenix could not overcome a slow start and saw its four-game winning streak halted at Valparaiso (73-61). Green Bay trailed by as many as 16 in the first half but trailed by just three points with two minutes to play before league-leading Valpo held on for the win.
The Phoenix will be looking to end a three-game skid to the Panthers which included two Milwaukee wins a season ago by a combined seven points. Milwaukee is coming off a 60-50 loss at UIC on Wednesday in which it lost a 17-point halftime lead. The Panthers are led by guards Paris Gulley (15.6 ppg) and Jordan Aaron (14.1 ppg).
Green Bay enters the game with three players averaging in double figures. Sophomore point guard Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) leads the way at 15.3 points per game while big men Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) and Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) both chip in double digits at 12.1 and 11.5 points per game, respectively.
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX: Fans will be able to catch Friday night's Horizon League showdown on ESPNU. Jim Barbar will be on the call handling the play-by-play duties alongside color analyst Malcolm Huckaby.
The game will also be carried live by WDUZ The Fan 107.5 FM/1400 AM 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 holds a 26-21 advantage in the series against in-state foe Milwaukee, including a 16-7 mark in Green Bay and a 9-13 record in Milwaukee. The Panthers have won three-straight games in the series and three in a row in Milwaukee. The last win for Green Bay in Milwaukee was a 77-75 overtime victory on Jan. 9, 2009.
2. LOOKING TO JOIN THE CLUB: After scoring 18 points Wednesday at Valparaiso, Brown has 981 career points and needs 19 tonight to become the program's 25th member of the 1,000-point club. The last Phoenix player to join the 1,000-point club was Rahmon Fletcher, who also did so as a junior in 2009-10.
3. SYKES VS. THE PANTHERS: Sykes had two of the best games of his spectacular freshman season against Milwaukee. In the teams' first meeting in Milwaukee on Jan. 7, 2012, Sykes reached 20 points for the first time in his career, tallying 20 points on 10-of-18 shooting. In the contest at Green Bay, Sykes was even better with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field while adding six assists. Two of Sykes' three 20-point games during his rookie season came against Milwaukee.
• LAST SEASON'S MEETINGS: Milwaukee swept a pair of meetings a season ago, including a 64-63 victory in Milwaukee when Kaylon Williams hit a game-winning three at the buzzer. The Panthers made 40.5 percent from long range (15-37) in the two games, including 12 triples in the 81-75 win in Green Bay. Milwaukee also held a big edge on the glass with a plus-9.5 rebounding margin.
• IMPACT FRESHMAN: Fouse's impressive performances last week earned him his first honor from the Horizon League. The 6-foot-7 Fouse was named the Horizon League Newcomer of the Week on Monday after averaging 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. One of only three Green Bay players to start each game (Brown, Sykes), Fouse leads all Horizon League newcomers in rebounds (2nd), blocks (3rd) and steals (t4th).
• RESERVE ROLES: Green Bay's bench has provided a solid lift in recent games. Against Cleveland State, three Phoenix players combined for 31 points off the pine, the second-most points scored by Green Bay reserves in this season. Cougill has reached double figures off the bench in five of seven Horizon League games.
• FREE AND EASY: Green Bay is first in the Horizon League and its 75.4 percent from the line ranks 15th nationally. The Phoenix is 338-448 on the season and also ranks tied for 16th nationally in free throws made per game (16.9). Green Bay has made more free throws per game than any other Horizon League team, and on its recent four-game homestand the Phoenix made 30 more free throws than its opponents attempted.
• DOUBLE THE FUN: Against Cleveland State, Fouse (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Cougill (11 points, 10 rebounds) both had double-doubles to give the Phoenix six double-doubles this season. The game marked the fifth time in Green Bay's Division I history that two players had double-doubles in the same game, and the second time this season. Brown (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Cougill (17 points, 10 rebounds) against Southern Utah on Nov. 16. Remarkably, four of the occasions with two double-doubles have happened under Wardle.
• DEFENDING THE HOME COURT: Green Bay's 4-0 homestand was built on the strength of impressive defense. Mixing up man-to-man and zone defense, the Phoenix allowed just 50 points per game and 32.6 percent shooting in the four games and added 26 blocks and 29 steals. Getting a season-high six blocks from junior Alec Brown, Green Bay had 10 blocks in the win against Cleveland State, tying for the second-most in program history. Fouse tied a school record with seven steals against Loyola.
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