Balanced Attack Propels Phoenix to Wire-to-Wire Win
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Returning home after an eight-day road trip, Green Bay (3-3) jumped out to a 13-2 lead and put five players in double figures in a wire-to-wire 74-59 win over visiting North Dakota State (5-2) on Saturday night in non-conference men's basketball action at the Resch Center. The Phoenix snapped a three-game losing streak while handing the Bison its first loss in five games.
Sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) had all 21 of his points by the 8:05 mark of the second half to lead the quintet of Phoenix double-figure scorers. Junior Sultan Muhammad (Grand Rapids, Mich.) made his first start in a Green Bay uniform and knocked down four three-pointers as part of a 13-point effort. Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) and Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) each scored 12 while Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) added 10 points.
After NDSU cut the early lead to three, Green Bay led by nine (32-23) at the half when Cerroni made a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Bison was held to 9-of-27 shooting in the opening 20 minutes, including a 0-for-6 effort from long range.
Two triples from Cerroni and another from Muhammad were part of an 11-2 run that turned a 10-point edge early in the second half to a 53-33 lead with 13:57 to play. Muhammad went 4-of-6 from long range and Cerroni knocked down 3-of-5 threes as Green Bay made a season-high nine three-pointers and connected on at least 50 percent from long range for the first time since Jan. 28, 2012.
The Bison threatened to come back, closing to 60-48 with 5:23 to play, but Muhammad and Cerroni again responded. Muhammad knocked down a triple and Cerroni capped an 8-0 run to push the lead back to 20 (68-48) with 3:30 remaining.
Green Bay's hot shooting was due in large part to an unselfish offensive attack run by Sykes. The Phoenix handed out 20 assists on 24 made field goals, with Cougill tallying five and Sykes and Brown adding four each. It was a career high assist total for Brown, who added five rebounds.
The Phoenix defense held NDSU to 40 percent shooting from the field (22-55), including just 3-of-16 from long range for a team that came in shooting almost 41 percent from long range. Mike Felt led NDSU in scoring coming in but was held scoreless on just 0-of-3 shooting. Second-leading scorer Taylor Braun was held to just four on 2-of-12 shooting from the field.
Freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) started on Braun and also contributed eight rebounds, three assists, four blocks and two steals in 27 minutes.
Green Bay will be back on the road for its next three contests, starting with a trip to face former Green Bay great and Phoenix Hall of Famer Tony Bennett and Virginia on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. CT.
Read a full season preview of the men's basketball team and watch a 1-on-1 interview with Wardle.
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