Green Bay Returns Home Wednesday to Welcome League Newcomer
By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – After winning three-straight Horizon League nail biters on the road, Green Bay (15-3, 5-0 HL) brings a 10-game winning streak back home to the Resch Center on Wednesday night, hosting newcomer Oakland (7-13, 2-3 HL) at 7 p.m. The Golden Grizzlies joined the Horizon League on July 1, 2013.
In order to stay perfect in Horizon League play, the Phoenix will have to slow down a Golden Grizzlies team which ranks 15th nationally in three-pointers made and 10th nationally in three-pointers attempted. Senior Travis Bader attempts 10.8 threes per game by himself and is currently just 15 shy of breaking J.J. Redick’s record for career three-pointers made.
This past week, Green Bay was able to fly past Wright State on Friday night for a 79-69 victory and rally past UIC on Sunday for a 69-64 win. Senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) averaged 23.5 points and shot 77.3 percent in the wins and on Monday was named the Horizon League Player of the Week for the third time in 2013-14. Junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) added 19.5 points per game, scoring 33 of his 39 points after halftime.
The 10-game winning streak for the Phoenix is the program’s longest since winning 23 consecutive games in 1995-96. The team’s 15-3 start is also the program’s best since the 1995-96 campaign.
GREEN BAY PROBABLE STARTERS
G – #24 Keifer Sykes, G, Jr., 5-11, 175
G – #35 Vincent Garrett, G, Sr., 6-6, 220
F – #4 Jordan Fouse, F, So., 6-7, 225
F – #15 Greg Mays, F, Jr., 6-9, 222
C – #21 Alec Brown, C, Sr., 7-1, 235
HORIZON LEAGUE 3-GAME PACK: Green Bay is offering fans the chance to purchase a Horizon League 3-Game Pack. The 3-game pack begins at just $31 for adults and $19 for youth and allows Phoenix fans to attend any three 2013-14 league games of their choice. Green Bay plays five of its next six contests at the Resch Center.
LIVE COVERAGE: For fans unable to attend Wednesday night’s game, the contest will be available on the Horizon League Network (live video) and on WNFL 1440 AM (radio) with Matt Menzl (play-by-play) and Cordero Barkley (analyst) on the call.
INSIDE THE SERIES: After playing a UIC program on Sunday which Green Bay had played more than any other its history, the Phoenix hosts the Horizon League foe it has played the fewest times. Oakland and Green Bay have split six all-time meetings, with the last being a 76-52 home win for the Golden Grizzlies on Dec. 13, 2009.
SYKES SOARS INTO NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: Showing off his 44.5-inch vertical, Sykes provided a timely alley-oop dunk on Sunday that not only tied the Phoenix game at UIC but also vaulted him into the national spotlight. Sykes’ dunk off a Jordan Fouse pass was #4 on SportsCenter’s Top Plays of the Weekend and earned acclaim from ESPN.com, YahooSports.com, NBCSports.com, the Sporting News and Deadspin.
A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN: Brown is in the midst of the most impressive season and most impressive stretch of his standout career. The 7-foot-1 center is posting career-high numbers in points, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage and blocked shots. With eight more boards, he becomes the only player in program or Horizon League history to tally 1,500-plus points (1524), 750 rebounds (742) and 250 blocked shots (275).
WINNING WAYS: During Green Bay’s 10-game winning streak, the Phoenix has posted a scoring margin of plus-18.2 with seven double-digit victories. The team’s top-four scorers during the streak - Alec Brown (20.8), Keifer Sykes (19.6), Greg Mays (10.3) and Jordan Fouse (7.7) - have combined to shoot 56.2 percent from the field (221-393). During the streak, Green Bay is shooting 51.5 percent as a team while holding opponents to 37.7 percent.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES: Green Bay is one of only four teams in the country ranked in the top-25 in both field goal percentage and defensive field goal percentage. The Phoenix ranks 20th nationally in field goal percentage (48.7) and 21st in the country in field goal percentage defense (38.6). Green Bay has shot 55 percent or higher in five of the past seven games, including a season-high 59.6 percent shooting on Friday night against defensive-minded Wright State.
SYKES SET APART: Sykes not only ranks among the leaders in numerous Horizon League categories, but the Phoenix point guard is the only player in the country averaging 20-plus points and five-plus assists while shooting 50 percent or higher from the field. His scoring average of 20.4 points ranks in a tie for 23rd nationally in points per game.
BLOCK PARTY: Green Bay has blocked 136 shots in 18 games this season. The 136 blocks are the third-most in a single season in program history, behind only the school-record total of 162 last season and the 142 from 2011-12. With an average 7.6 rejections per game, the Phoenix ranks second nationally in blocks per game behind only St. John’s (8.8).
BROWN’S BLOCKS: Brown is having the best season of his career, which includes blocks. Averaging 3.4 per game, the 7-foot-1 senior is tied for 10th nationally. With 60 blocks in 2013-14, Brown is on pace to break his own school record of 89, set in 2011-12. Brown now owns each of the top-four spots on the program’s single-season blocks chart (59, 60, 67, 89).
RECORDS IN REACH: Brown will be chasing a couple of records as his senior season continues. With 275 career blocks, Brown needs 35 more to break the Horizon League record of 309 set last season by Youngstown State’s Damian Eargle. The 7-foot-1 senior also needs just 25 more rebounds to break the Green Bay Division I record of 766 set by Terry Evans.
MOVING ON UP: Brown now ranks eighth in Green Bay history in scoring (1,524 points) after passing Tom Anderson (1,505) last week. Sykes, with 1,241 career points, is 11 points shy of passing Troy Cotton (1,251) and 15 away from passing Ben Berlowski (1,255) into 14th place on the program’s scoring ledger.
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