Green Bay Welcomes Valpo on Thursday for Senior Night
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Senior night arrives at the Resch Center on Thursday before Green Bay (21-5, 11-2 HL) hosts Valparaiso (16-11, 8-4 HL) at 7 p.m., but the Phoenix hopes that a different celebration will take place after 40 minutes against the Crusaders. Green Bay, holding a two-game lead in the Horizon League standings, can clinch at least a share of the conference championship and the No. 1 seed with a victory.
The Phoenix is in position to wrap up the conference title thanks to a pair of impressive, double-digit road victories at Youngstown State and Cleveland State last week. Brown led the way for Green Bay by averaging 21 points per game in the key wins. On Monday, he was named the Horizon League Player of the Week for the fourth time in 2013-14.
Thursday will be the 122nd game of Brown’s standout Phoenix career. The 7-foot-1 senior has started 121 times and has missed only one contest in four seasons. That one game missed was this season on Jan. 29 when Green Bay lost 75-60 at Valparaiso.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay leads the all-time series with Valparaiso 26-20, but the Crusaders have won four-straight games against the Phoenix. In Titletown, Green Bay has won 16 of 21 contests.
FIRST MEETING: Playing without Brown, Green Bay fell behind early and never recovered at Valparaiso on Jan. 29. The 75-60 result in the Crusaders’ favor ended a 12-game winning streak for the Phoenix. Valpo’s Lavonte Dority led all scorers with 26 points on just 9-of-12 shooting while Green Bay junior Keifer Sykes (Chicacgo, Ill.) paced the Phoenix with 19 points.
STANDING TALL ALONE: In four years with the Phoenix, Brown has put himself among the all-time greats in program and league history. The 7-foot-1 Winona, Minn., native enters Thursday ranking in Green Bay’s top-10 with 1,619 points (t-7th), 777 rebounds (3rd) and 293 career blocks (1st). Brown is the program’s leading rebounder at the Division I level and the lone player in Horizon League history to post 1,500-plus points, 750-plus rebounds and 250-plus blocks.
BROWN’S BLOCKS: The program’s all-time leading shot blocker, Brown holds the top-four single-season rejection totals at Green Bay (59, 67, 78, 89). With Brown on the roster, Green Bay has broken the team record for blocks in four-straight seasons and this season has blocked a Horizon League record 195 shots. Of the top-15 single-game block totals in Phoenix history, 14 have occurred during Brown’s career.
DEFENSIVE STAND: Holding the Horizon’s League’s top-scoring offense to 40 points last Thursday at Youngstown State was remarkable in and of itself, but it also marked the best defensive effort by the Phoenix against a league opponent in more than a decade. Green Bay had not allowed 40 points in a conference game since Feb. 18, 1999 and it was the largest margin of victory in HL play since 2001-02.
SOPHOMORE STEALS: With 62 steals this season, sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) is just six shy of breaking the Green Bay single-season record of 67 set by Terry Evans in 2008-09. Already ranking ninth in Phoenix history in career steals (117), Fouse holds the program’s freshman and sophomore records.
ANOTHER RECORD IN REACH: With 293 career blocks, Brown is also chasing the Horizon League career blocks record of 309 set last season by Youngstown State’s Damian Eargle. With seven blocks he will become only the second player in league history with 300 rejections and with 17 more will become the all-time leader.
SYKES SET APART: Ranking 23rd nationally in points per game, Sykes is the only player in the country averaging 20-plus points (20.3), five-plus assists (5.0) and four-plus rebounds per game (4.4).
SYKES PLAY OF THE YEAR: Sykes has been nominated for the GEICO Play of the Year and is one of four plays this week vying to become a finalist. To watch the dunk and vote for Sykes, visit the Geico Best of College Basketball Facebook page. Week six voting, which includes Sykes' incredible dunk, ends Monday, Feb. 24, at 11:59 a.m. Fans can vote once daily and are also encouraged to share their votes with their Facebook friends.
CHARITY WORK: This season, Sykes has made 161 free throws to break his own single-season program record for free throws made in a season (159), set in 2012-13. Sykes leads the Horizon League and ranks 11th nationally in free throws made. With 388 free throws made in his career, Sykes already ranks fourth in program history.
MOVING ON UP: Brown is now tied for seventh in Green Bay history in scoring (1,619 points). Sykes has scored 1,403 career points in 90 games, ranking 11th in program history.
500-500: Sykes has now scored 1,068 points in his sophomore and junior seasons alone. With 539 points in 2012-13 and 529 points this season, Sykes is the fourth Phoenix player in the Division I era to reach 500 or more in back-to-back seasons (Tony Bennett, Jeff Nordgaard, Rahmon Fletcher). Nordgaard is the only Phoenix player to score 500-plus points in three consecutive seasons.
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