GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's basketball team (13-12, 7-5 HL) hits the final quarter of its Horizon League schedule in position to finish towards the top of the standings, beginning with a nationally-televised game at Cleveland State (12-14, 4-8 HL) on Friday night at 8 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised live by ESPNU.
Green Bay's two remaining league road games in Ohio this weekend are on courts which bring bad memories of a season ago. The Phoenix went a combined 0-3 at Cleveland State and Youngstown State in 2011-12 but swept the two schools from the Buckeye State back in mid-January at the Resch Center.
When the Phoenix hosted Cleveland State on Jan. 19, freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds as Green Bay placed five players in double figure en route to a 77-50 victory. The 27-point win was the largest by the Phoenix in a Horizon League game since a 78-49 win over Youngstown State on Feb. 5, 2005.
Both Green Bay and Cleveland State most recently faced Detroit, with the Phoenix posting a 68-59 home win on Saturday while the Vikings fell 92-62 to the Titans on the road on Tuesday. However, CSU holds an 8-3 record at home at the Wolstein Center in 2012-13.
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX: Fans will be able to catch Friday night's important Horizon League game live on ESPNU. Jim Barbar will handle the play-by-play duties with Malcolm Huckaby alongside as the color analyst. Green Bay is 4-0 this season with Barbar serving as the play-by-play announcer.
The game will also be carried live by WDUZ The Fan 107.5 FM and 1400 AM and online at thefan1075.com. The play-by-play voice of the Phoenix Matt Menzl will be on the call alongside Andrew Gavin. Live stats will be available on CSUVikings.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 Cleveland State 38-27 but the Vikings have won 13 of the 30 meetings in Cleveland. The Vikings have won the past five games at the Wolstein Center, including a 78-68 win on Jan. 20, 2012. Keifer Sykes led the Phoenix in that contest with 15 points, but Green Bay was outrebounded 43-23. In this season's Phoenix win, Green Bay held a dominant edge on the backboards (41-18).
2. REBOUNDING ROOKIE: Fouse has proven himself to be one of the best rebounders and defenders in the Horizon League. The 6-foot-7 forward is second in the conference in rebounds per game (7.6) and tied for third in blocks and steals per game (1.5). Fouse has now grabbed more rebounds (191) than any freshman in the program's Division I history. He is on pace to break the 44-year old freshman record, set by Dennis Woeffler (209) in the program's first season, 1969-70.
3. BLOCK PARTY: Green Bay had 14 blocks in two games last week, including 10 in Thursday's double overtime contest against Wright State. The 10 blocks were tied for the second most in program history. With Alec Brown (42), Jordan Fouse (37), Greg Mays (17) and Brennan Cougill (11) all in double figures, the Phoenix has now swatted 118 shots on the season. That total is the third-most all-time, behind only the last two seasons - 142 in 2011-12 and 119 in 2012-13.
• SANS SOPHOMORE SLUMP: After an impressive freshman campaign, Sykes has taken his game to even the next level as a sophomore. Despite a scoreless, injury-plagued game at Loyola, Sykes is fifth in the league in scoring (14.8) and tied for third in assists (4.2) and has reached double figures in 21 of 24 games. In the past two games since Loyola, Sykes has averaged 14.5 points per game after halftime. He scored or assisted on 10 of Green Bay's 13 second-half baskets against Detroit.
• HOLDIN' DOWN DETROIT: In Green Bay's 68-59 win over Detroit, only five Titan players scored and only two reached double figures as the Phoenix defense allowed just 59 points, a season low for a Titans squad which entered ranked in the top-10 nationally in scoring (79.1). Detroit scored only 26 points after halftime, with only 10 surrendered to players not named Ray McCallum.
• GLASS CLEANERS: Led by Fouse, who leads the Horizon League averaging 8.5 rebounds and 2.7 offensive boards per game in league play, Green Bay is the top rebounding team in Horizon League action with a rebounding margin of plus-6.0. With three players (Fouse, Brown, Cougill) in the top-eight in the conference overall in rebounding, the Phoenix is second for the season in rebounding margin (+4.4), right behind Valparaiso (+4.5).
• DEFEND THE HORIZON: The Phoenix has been among the league's best defensive teams in league play. Through 12 games, Green Bay leads in scoring defense (60.8), field goal percentage defense (.385), rebounding margin (+6.0) and blocked shots (5.8).
• STILL ON GUARD: In Green Bay's seven league wins, the Phoenix has not allowed more than 63 points and has a scoring defense of 54.0. The team's victory margin is 13.1 and it has made nearly twice as many free throws (119-62). Those seven opponents are shooting just 36.6 percent from the field and are being outrebounded by 9.3 boards per game. In its five HL losses, Green Bay is allowing 70.2 points per game and 41.0 percent shooting. The Phoenix rebounding margin dips to just plus-1.4 and its opponents have made 20 more free throws.
• FREE AND EASY: Green Bay leads the conference in free throws made (416) and is second in free-throw percentage (.747). The Phoenix ranks 27th nationally in free-throw percentage and is second among teams in the top-30 in free-throw percentage in free throws made. No. 1 Indiana is first with 482 free throws. Among Horizon League leaders, Cougill (.840, 42-50) ranks seventh overall while Brown is shooting 79.4 percent in Horizon League play. Sykes has made the third-most free throws in the league (110-138, 79.7 percent).
Single-game tickets for 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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