Second-Half Sykes, Second-Half Defense Propel Phoenix
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - On Thursday night, sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) was noticeably not himself. He still finished with 16 points, but coming off an injury only had five points in regulation before Green Bay fell in double overtime.
On Saturday afternoon, Sykes was limited to just 11 minutes and three points due to two fouls in the first half as the Phoenix trailed 33-30. He came out of the locker room looking like his old self, scoring 13 of his team-high 16 points in the second half as Green Bay (13-12, 7-5 HL) held visiting Detroit (16-9, 8-4 HL) to just 26 second-half points and posted a 68-59 win in Horizon League men's basketball action at the Resch Center.
Sykes made 5-of-7 shots in the second half, when he also dished out all of his game-high five assists. The sophomore scored or assisted on 10 of Green Bay's 13 second-half field goals. During a late 24-9 stretch in which a two-point deficit turned into a 10-point lead, Sykes had two three-point plays, a dunk and assisted on four scoring plays.
As impressive as the play of Sykes was the play of Green Bay's defense and its bench. In the second half, the Phoenix held the league's most potent offense to just 34.5 percent shooting 10-29) and 26 points. Other than Preseason Player of the Year Ray McCallum, who had 16 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, the Titans went just 3-of-18 from the field for 10 points.
Green Bay's bench outscored the Detroit reserves 25-2, getting 11 points from junior Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) and eight points from sophomore Cole Stefan (Minnetonka, Minn.). Cerroni made his first two three-pointers and scored eight of his points in the opening half, and Stefan tallied all eight of his points after halftime.
Detroit led by as many as seven early before Cerroni scored eight-straight Phoenix points to tie the game at 20-20. With McCallum tallying 14 points, Detroit led 33-30 at halftime.
Freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Phoenix while junior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) was the fourth player in double figures (10 points) and added three blocked shots. Brown, who played a team-high 82 minutes in the team's two-game homestand, now has 198 career blocks to move into fourth in Horizon League history.
The Phoenix outrebounded its 10th opponent in 12 Horizon League games (35-30) and knocked down 18-of-23 free throws. Including 6-of-13 from long range, Green Bay shot 22-of-51 (43.1 percent) from the field.
Green Bay heads back to the road for two games in Ohio this week with each being carried by the ESPN family of networks. The Phoenix will play at Cleveland State at 8 p.m. CT on Friday night before visiting Youngstown State on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. The Sunday matinee at YSU can be seen on ESPN3.
Single-game tickets for all Phoenix home games 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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