Green Bay Visits Cleveland State on Saturday Afternoon
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Green Bay set the tone on both ends of the court on Thursday and cruised past Youngstown State with a historically good defensive performance. On Saturday, the league-leading Phoenix will aim to build off that effort and stay alone atop the Horizon League standings when it visits Cleveland State at 3 p.m. CT. At 10-2, Green Bay is one game clear of the Vikings, who have won seven games in a row.
The top two teams in the Horizon League won by a combined 51 points on Thursday night, with the Phoenix defeating YSU 71-40 and Cleveland State downing visiting UIC 73-53 at the Wolstein Center. Green Bay held the Penguins to 38 points below their season average and 27 points below their previous season low for points in a game.
Senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.), in his fourth game back from a shoulder injury, scored an efficient 24 points in just 27 minutes, making 11-of-16 shots from the field. Brown added four rebounds to become the program’s all-time leading rebounder at the Division I level.
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: Saturday’s game will be televised live by Time Warner Cable SportsChannel with Jim Barbar (play-by-play) and Tim Doyle (analyst) on the call. The broadcast is also available on the Horizon League Network. On WNFL 1440 AM, Matt Menzl and Andrew Gavin will bring fans a radio broadcast of the action.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Including a 66-55 win in the Horizon League opener for both teams on Jan. 2, Green Bay has won four-straight games in the series with Cleveland State. The Phoenix is 14-17 all-time in Cleveland, but won 66-59 last year at the Wolstein Center.
SYKES SET APART: Ranking 19th nationally in points per game, Sykes is the only player in the country averaging 20-plus points (20.4), five-plus assists (5.1) and four-plus rebounds per game (4.5). On Thursday, the point guard tallied 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists while committing just one turnover.
BLOCK PARTY: With seven blocks at YSU, Green Bay broke the Horizon League record for blocked shots in a season with 185. The Phoenix has broken the program’s single-season record in four-straight years, and of the top-14 single-game block efforts in Green Bay history, 13 have occurred during Brown’s four years in the program. With 7.4 rejections per game, the Phoenix ranks second nationally to St. John’s (7.9).
FIRST MEETING: Cleveland State led 29-23 at intermission, but Green Bay forced nine turnovers and held the Vikings to just 30 percent shooting while outscoring the visitors 43-26 after halftime. Brown had 17 points and five blocks while Fouse and Sykes added 15 points apiece. Green Bay’s defense held Bryn Forbes to seven points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field.
SOPHOMORE STATEMENT: Runner-up to Forbes for the 2013 Newcomer of the Year award, Fouse has played extremely well in his career against the Vikings. In three games against CSU, Fouse is averaging 13 points on 14-of-17 shooting from the field while adding 7.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and three steals per game.
DEFENSIVE STAND: Holding the Horizon’s League’s top-scoring offense to 40 points was remarkable in and of itself, but it also marked the top 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 largest margin of victory in HL play since 2001-02.
CHARITY WORK: As a sophomore, Sykes broke the Phoenix program record for free throws made in a season (159). Sykes has 150 makes from the line this season, good for third-most by a Phoenix player and second-most in the Division I era. The Horizon League’s top scorer leads the conference and is 15th nationally in free throws made.
500-500: Sykes has now scored 1,050 points in his sophomore and junior seasons. With 539 points in 2012-13 and 511 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.
MOVING ON UP: Brown now ranks eighth in Green Bay history in scoring (1,601 points). Sykes has scored 1,385 career points in 88 games and needs seven points to pass Ray Willis into 11th place in program history.
BROWN’S BLOCKS: Brown is having the best season of his career, which includes blocks. Averaging 3.2 per game, the 7-foot-1 senior is 13th nationally. With 76 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, 67, 76, 89).
ANOTHER RECORD IN REACH: With 291 career blocks, Brown is also chasing the Horizon League career blocks record of 309 set last season by Youngstown State’s Damian Eargle.
A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN: Brown is in the midst of the most impressive season of his standout career. The 7-foot-1 center is posting career-high numbers in points, field goal percentage and blocked shots. Against Detroit on Jan. 26, Brown became the only player in program or Horizon League history to tally 1,500-plus points (1601), 750 rebounds (768) and 250 blocked shots (291).
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