VIDEO: FOUSE HAVING EARLY IMPACT ON PHOENIX
By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Finishing a three-game road trip, the Green Bay men's basketball team visits the Kohl Center in Madison to face in-state foe Wisconsin on Wednesday night at 8:06 p.m. The Big Ten Network will provide live coverage of the game which will mark the third-straight season that the Phoenix has played at Wisconsin, who will visit the Resch Center in 2013-14.
Both teams will be looking to bounce back from road losses. The Phoenix returns to Wisconsin after a 74-68 loss at Tennessee Tech last Thursday night. Sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) scored 18 points and senior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) added 17 points in the defeat. The Badgers fell on Saturday 60-50 at Marquette to fall to 6-4 on the season.
Sykes leads three Phoenix players averaging in double figures and is fifth in the Horizon League in scoring at 16 points per game. Four Badgers average 10 or more points per game, led by senior big man Jared Berggren's 14.3 scoring average.
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX: Including the Big Ten Network broadcast, Phoenix fans will have numerous options to catch the action on Wednesday night. Kevin Kugler (play-by-play) and Mike Kelley (color analyst) will be on the call for the BTN beginning at 8 p.m. Fans can also catch a live radio broadcast 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 with Cordero Barkley.
1. ROAD TRIPPIN': Wednesday night's game is the last non-conference road game until a BracketBuster contest in February and ends a stretch of seven of nine games away from home to start the season. The Phoenix has played road games in five different states and traveled over 4,000 miles during a 35-day stretch with just one home game.
2. CHARITY CASE: The charity stripe has been kind to the Phoenix this season as Green Bay ranks second in the Horizon League and 29th nationally in free throw percentage (.759). The Phoenix has connected on 34 more made free throws than its opponents and has three of the top six free-throw shooters in the Horizon League. Junior Kam Cerroni (16-16, 1st), sophomore Keifer Sykes (35-40, 5th) and senior Brennan Cougill (23-27, 6th) are each shooting above 85 percent from the line.
3. OLD FOR 18: Sykes entered the 2012-13 season as a starting point guard and a team captain. He entered as a Preseason All-Horizon League Second-Team. He entered the year after a season in which he scored 335 points (most by a Phoenix freshman since Tony Bennett in 1988-89) and was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team. Amazingly, he also entered as an 18-year old, and he will stay that way through the first 13 games of his sophomore campaign. After playing his first 13 games at age 17, Sykes is now averaging 15.1 in 25 games as an 18-year old.
• INSIDE THE SERIES: Wednesday will mark the 19th all-time meeting between Green Bay and Wisconsin, with the Badgers holding a 17-1 advantage overall and 15-0 in Madison. The two teams have played every year since 1999. Wisconsin is slated to visit the Resch Center in 2013-14. Brown has led the Phoenix in scoring against Wisconsin in each of his two seasons at Green Bay.
• FINALLY HOME: Green Bay, the lone Horizon League squad to have played just two home games, will finally return to the Resch Center on Saturday, hosting Southern Illinois at 7 p.m. The contest is a Festival Foods Family Game and the first 1,000 youth fans in attendance will receive a titanium necklace presented by Baylake Bank. The Phoenix game against the Salukis will kick off a four-game homestand with games against Marquette (Dec. 19), South Dakota (Dec. 22) and Illinois-Springfield (Dec. 30).
• FAST START FOR THE FROSH: Head coach Brian Wardle started a true freshman in the opener for the third-straight season, and freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) has made it look like a great decision. The 6-foot-7 Fouse is averaging five points and leads the team in rebounds (7.5), steals (1.4) and blocks (1.4) through eight games. He has led the team in rebounding in five times.
• SYKES SANS SOPHOMORE SLUMP: Sykes has picked up where he left off in 2011-12, avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump in the process. Sykes has reached double figures in seven of eight games this season and dating back to his freshman campaign has scored 10 or more in 22 of the past 25 games. He leads the team and is fifth in the Horizon League in scoring at 16.0 points per game.
• BLOCK PARTY: In his time at Green Bay, 7-foot-1 Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) has swatted 165 shots to shatter the Phoenix career record. With 89 blocks as a sophomore, Brown averaged 3.0 per game, a number that ranked in the top-10 nationally. Youngstown State senior Damian Eargle recently broke the HL career blocks record and has 243. Brown will be looking to chase down his record over the next year and a half.
• SECOND CHANCES: Green Bay has hit the offensive glass extremely hard this season, grabbing 23 more offensive rebounds than its opponents. Led by Fouse's 20, Green Bay has four different players with 10 or more offensive rebounds (Brown-18, Cougill-16, Mays-13).
• FAIR AND BALANCED: Led by leading scorer Keifer Sykes' 21-point game, Green Bay put five players in double figures against NDSU. Sultan Muhammad (13), Kam Cerroni (12), Cougill (12) and Brown (10) joined Sykes in double figures as five Phoenix players reached double digits in a game for the first time since Feb. 12, 2012 at Detroit. The 20 assists handed out in the victory were the most by the Phoenix since Dec. 31, 2011 at Valpo, a span of 21 games.
• DOUBLE THE FUN: In its Division I history, Green Bay has had two players post double doubles on just four occasions. Remarkably, three of the four have come under Wardle in the past three seasons. The most recent was against Southern Utah on Nov. 16 when Brown had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Cougill registered 17 points and 10 boards in the 64-52 win.
• ELITE COMPANY: Brown was in elite company in 2011-12. Brown, then a sophomore, was one of only two players to average at least 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks per game. The other? Kentucky's Anthony Davis, who was selected first overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Brown is a Preseason All-Horizon League First-Team selection heading into 2012-13.
Pick 5 packages and single-game tickets are on sale now 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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