GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - With two Horizon League games remaining, the Green Bay men's basketball team (15-13, 9-5 HL) begins an important week at the Resch Center on Tuesday night, hosting rival Milwaukee (8-22, 3-12 HL) at 7 p.m.
Green Bay saw its momentum halted slightly on Saturday at Drake, but the Phoenix carries a three-game Horizon League winning streak into its final two regular season contests. After starting the conference season at 0-2, Green Bay has won nine of its past 12 Horizon League games to sit in a tie for third place in the standings.
The week begins with rival Milwaukee, who despite sitting in last place in the league standings will visit the Resch Center as one of the hottest teams in the league after back-to-back wins over UIC and IUPUI. The first meeting on Jan. 25 marked the first road win of the season for the Phoenix, who used an 18-2 run to break away from a 41-41 tie midway through the second half en route to a 74-54 win.
Also in the first meeting, Green Bay's All-Horizon League duo of Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) and Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) outscored the Panthers 28-27 alone in the second half. Brown scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half and went over 1,000 career points while Sykes tallied 13 of his 16 after the break. Sykes is averaging 20.3 points in three career games against Milwaukee.
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX: Fans unable to make it to the Resch Center on Tuesday night will be able to catch the game exclusively on ESPN3. Will Haskett will provide the play-by-play with Joel Cornette alongside as the analyst.
The contest against the Panthers will also be carried on WDUZ The Fan 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 now leads the series against the Panthers, 27-21. The Phoenix has won 16 of the 23 games in Green Bay but will be looking to avenge an 81-75 home loss to the Panthers on Feb. 4, 2012. The Phoenix win at the Klotsche Center in January improved Green Bay to 10-13 in Milwaukee.
2. HOME SWEET HOME: The Phoenix is 10-2 at the Resch Center in 2012-13, including 5-1 in Horizon League play. In the past three seasons under head coach Brian Wardle, Green Bay has a 32-8 record in 40 home games. Sykes is averaging 16.7 points and 5.1 assists per game in 12 home games this season, going 72-of-92 from the line. Green Bay is allowing just 56 points per game and holding opponents to just 36.8 percent shooting. Led by Sykes, the Phoenix has made 130 more free throws at home than its opponents (237-107).
3. TOP OF THE CLASS: Freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) is in the conversation for Newcomer of the Year in the Horizon League. The stat stuffer leads the league in rebounding (7.6) and is third in steals (1.6) and tied for third in blocks (1.4). On Saturday, Fouse broke the program's freshman record for rebounds in a season, a record which had stood since 1969-70, the program's first season.
• COMEBACK TIME: Green Bay has shown the ability to come back and handle adversity throughout the season. Most recently, the Phoenix has overcome a second-half deficit in each of its past five victories. The team has won its last four games following a loss, and ended a season-long four-game losing streak by defeating Marquette 49-47 on Dec. 19.
• SECOND-HALF SYKES: Sykes, one of just two Horizon League players to be named Player of the Week at least three times this season, has excelled in the clutch. In wins over Cleveland State and YSU, he scored 38 of his 47 points in the second half. He has scored 75 points after halftime in the past five games. For the season, Sykes averages 9.1 points per game after halftime.
• BLOCK PARTY: Brown has blocked 39 shots in Horizon League play to become the fourth player in league history with more than 200 career rejections. The 7-foot-1 Brown is third in Horizon League history in blocks, behind only YSU's Damian Eargle (289) and Dan Godfread (226) from Evansville. Brown's 52 blocks this season are the third-most all-time, behind only his totals as a sophomore (89) and a freshman (67).
• REJECTIONS REGISTERED: With Brown (52), Fouse (40), Mays (17) and Cougill (13) all in double figures in blocks, the Phoenix has now swatted 137 shots on the season. That total is the second-most all-time, behind only last season's 142 and in front of the third-best total in program history, the 119 blocks in Brown's freshman season.
• ROOKIE RISING: Fouse has proven himself to be one of the best rebounders and defenders in the Horizon League, but is also making his mark on the Phoenix record book. The 6-foot-7 freshman has grabbed 213 rebounds to break the 44-year old freshman record, set by Dennis Woeffler (209) in the program's first season, 1969-70. With 45 steals, Fouse trails only Tony Bennett (49) and Terry Evans (50) for most by a Phoenix freshman. Finally, Fouse's 40 blocks are the second-most by a Phoenix freshman (Alec Brown's 67 in 2010-11) and tied for the eighth-highest single-season total in team history.
• DEFEND THE HORIZON: The Phoenix has been among the league's best rebounding and defensive teams in league play. Through 14 games, Green Bay leads in field goal percentage defense (.383), rebounding margin (+6.2) and blocked shots (6.0) and is second in scoring defense (60.1). In its nine league wins, the Phoenix has not allowed more than 63 points and has a scoring defense of 54.6. Four league opponents have had their lowest scoring outing of conference play against the Phoenix (Detroit, Youngstown State, UIC and Loyola).
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.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.