RV/-- Green Bay Concludes First Half of League Play at Valpo
VALPARAISO, Ind. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – After two home wins last week, RV/-- Green Bay (17-3, 7-0 HL) hits the road for a Wednesday night meeting with Valparaiso (12-10, 5-3 HL) at 7 p.m. The contest at the Athletics and Recreation Center wraps up the first half of Horizon League play for both teams.
The Phoenix enters Valpo with a 12-game winning streak which has gained the program five votes in the Associated Press Top-25 Poll. Six spots outside the top-25, Green Bay ranks 31st nationally.
Junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) continued his torrid play in 2013-14, averaging 24.5 points and eight rebounds per game last week in home wins over Oakland and Detroit. The reigning Horizon League Player of the Week leads the conference in scoring overall (20.8) and in league play (23.0).
In the Phoenix home wins last week, the team played stifling defense to rally from a pair of second-half deficits. Against Oakland, Green Bay held Travis Bader to just 2-of-13 shooting from the field and the Golden Grizzlies to 39.7 percent. In Sunday’s win, Detroit’s Juwan Howard, Jr. was only 1-of-10 as the Titans shot just 31.5 percent from the field. Green Bay’s 28.3 percent shooting was its lowest in a victory in program history.
GREEN BAY PROBABLE STARTERS
G – #24 Keifer Sykes, G, Jr., 5-11, 175
G – #12 Carrington Love, G, So., 6-1, 171
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
LIVE COVERAGE: Wednesday night’s game will be available live and in HD on the Horizon League Network. On WNFL 1440 AM, Matt Menzl (play-by-play) and Andrew Gavin (analyst) will bring fans the radio call.
INSIDE THE SERIES: In 45 all-time meetings between Green Bay and Valparaiso, the Phoenix holds a 26-19 record. Green Bay has lost the past three games against the Crusaders at the Athletics and Recreation Center since a 63-61 win on Jan. 23, 2011.
WINNING WAYS: Green Bay is in the midst of its longest winning streak since the 1995-96 season. During the winning streak, the Phoenix has posted nine victories by 10 or more points and has a scoring margin of plus-17.2. Green Bay is shooting 49.9 percent from the field and holding its opponents to just 374 percent. Sykes and senior Alec Brown have combined to average 39.6 points per game during the streak.
WINNING WEEKLY: Sykes was named Horizon League Player of the Week on Monday for a conference record sixth time in 2013-14, breaking the mark previously shared with Cleveland State’s Norris Cole (2010-11), Detroit’s Rashad Philips (2000-01) and Butler’s Darin Archbold (1991-92). With 10 weekly awards in his career, Sykes tied the conference record held by Philips (1998-2001).
A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN: Senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) 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. Against Detroit, he became the only player in program or Horizon League history to tally 1,500-plus points (1546), 750 rebounds (752) and 250 blocked shots (281).
SYKES SET APART: Ranking 17th nationally in points per game, Sykes is one of just two players (Providence’s Bryce Cotton) nationally averaging 20-plus points and five-plus assists per game. Shooting 49.5 percent, Sykes ranks eighth in field goal percentage among players averaging 20-plus points per game.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES: Green Bay ranks among the Horizon League leaders in both field goal percentage and defensive field goal percentage. The Phoenix ranks 16th nationally in field goal percentage defense (.383) and 34th nationally in field goal percentage (.479). Green Bay has shot a higher percentage than its opponent in 16 of 20 games this season. The Phoenix has also shot 50 percent or higher nine times after doing so just eight times in all of 2012-13.
BLOCK PARTY: With 148 shots in 20 games this season, Green Bay has the second-most rejections in school history, behind only the school-record total of 162 last season. With an average 7.4 rejections per game, the Phoenix ranks second nationally in blocks per game behind only St. John’s (8.4).
BROWN’S BLOCKS: Brown is having the best season of his career, which includes blocks. Averaging 3.3 per game, the 7-foot-1 senior is 12th nationally. With 66 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, 66, 67, 89).
RECORDS IN REACH: Brown will be chasing a couple of records as his senior season continues. With 281 career blocks, Brown needs 29 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 15 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 (1,546 points) after passing Tom Anderson (1,505) at UIC. With 27 points against Oakland, Sykes passed both Troy Cotton (1,251) and Ben Berlowski (1,255) into 14th place on the program’s scoring ledger and now has 1,290 career points.
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