Green Bay Opens Homestand Against Wright State Saturday
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – In the first half of its Horizon League schedule, #rv/-- Green Bay (17-4, 7-1 HL) posted a 7-1 record and built a two-game lead in the conference standings. The Phoenix begins the second half of league play with three home games in a span of eight days, beginning with Saturday’s 6 p.m. meeting with Wright State at the Resch Center.
The first 3,000 fans on Saturday will receive a free Whiteout 6th Fan t-shirt presented by Prevea, the Packers Pro Shop and WIXX. All fans are encouraged to wear white to the game, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Saturday's game will also be the culmination of Alumni Weekend for the program. The Phoenix program is welcoming back all former players, including special recognition of the 1993-94 team which won the regular season and tournament championships in the Mid-Continent Conference. As a No. 12 seed in the 1994 NCAA Tournament, the Phoenix posted a 61-57 upset of fifth-seeded California. The annual Alumni Game will be held at the Resch Center on Saturday at 2:15 p.m.
This season's first meeting between the Phoenix and the Raiders resulted in an 82-72 Green Bay win in Dayton on Jan. 17. Senior Alec Brown (24 points) and junior Keifer Sykes (18) combined for 42 points in the victory and the Phoenix shot a season-high 59.6 percent from the field. Six of Green Bay’s 12 second-half came via dunks.
On Wednesday, Green Bay was handed its first loss in 50 days, losing 75-60 at Valparaiso to end a 12-game winning streak. Against the Crusaders, the Phoenix was without Brown, who missed the game with an injury after playing in each of the first 116 games of his career.
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
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.
LIVE COVERAGE: For fans unable to attend Saturday’s game, the contest will be available on ESPN2 with Jim Barbar (play-by-play) and Malcolm Huckaby (analyst) on the call. On the radio and online, WNFL 1440 AM will carry the game live with Matt Menzl (play-by-play) and Cordero Barkley (analyst) bringing fans the action.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Saturday will be the 50th all-time meeting between Green Bay and Wright State, and the Phoenix win earlier this season gave it a slight 25-24 edge in the series. In games played in Green Bay, the Phoenix holds a 16-6 advantage, but the Raiders won 70-68 in double overtime last season.
WINNING WEEKLY: Sykes was named the Horizon League Player of the Week on Monday for a conference record sixth time this season. The junior, who averaged 24.5 points and eight rebounds last week in wins over Oakland and Detroit, also tied the Horizon League record with his 10th career player of the week honor. Sykes and Brown have combined to win a league and program record nine weekly awards this season.
HOME SWEET HOME: Green Bay carries a nine-game home winning streak into Saturday’s game. The Phoenix is 10-1 at home in 2013-14 and 4-0 in Horizon League action. The team is shooting 48.8 percent from the field at home while holding opponents to just 34.9 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from long range. In the past four seasons under head coach Brian Wardle, Green Bay has a 44-10 record on its home floor.
IT’S BEEN AWHILE: Green Bay’s 75-60 loss at Valparaiso on Wednesday night snapped a 12-game winning streak and was the team’s first setback in 50 days. The defeat also ended a six-game road winning streak in Horizon League play and the first road conference loss in nearly an entire year (Jan. 31, 2013). During the team’s winning streak, its longest since the 1995-96 season, Green Bay shot 49.9 percent from the field and held a scoring margin of plus-17.4.
SYKES SET APART: Ranking 19th 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 49.1 percent, Sykes ranks eighth in field goal percentage among players averaging 20-plus points per game.
MOVING ON UP: Brown now ranks eighth in Green Bay history in scoring (1,546 points) after passing Tom Anderson (1,505). Sykes has scored 1,309 career points in 85 games, and the junior is 17 points shy of moving past Ryan Tillema (2005-09) into 13th place in program history.
BLOCK PARTY: With 154 blocked shots in 21 games this season, Green Bay needs only nine more to break the single-season school record of 162, set last season. With an average 7.3 rejections per game, the Phoenix ranks second nationally in blocks per game behind only St. John’s (8.2).
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 11th 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.
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. 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).
SLOWING STARS: During Horizon League play at home, Green Bay’s defense has done a great job slowing some of the league’s top scorers. The team has played four of the conference’s top scorers at the Resch Center. Bryn Forbes, Kendrick Perry, Travis Bader and Juwan Howard, Jr. have combined to average eight points per game on 9-of-43 shooting against Green Bay.
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