By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) blocked six shots in the first game of his collegiate career, so his performance on Senior Night on Thursday against Valparaiso should not come as any real surprise. Setting the tone on both ends of the floor, Brown scored 14 points and blocked eight shots in a 67-53 win for Green Bay (22-5, 12-2 HL) as the Phoenix clinched at least a share of the Horizon League regular season title.
Just three weeks removed from missing the first game of his career in a 75-60 loss at Valpo on Jan. 29, Brown added the most memorable chapter to a storied Phoenix career. In his 122nd career game, the 7-foot-1 senior helped end a title drought spanning 18 years and ensure Green Bay’s right to host the 2014 Horizon League Championship.
Thursday night was another example of the rare versatility that Brown possesses. In the first half, he established himself in the paint with five blocked shots. In the second half, he stepped out and drained a pair of clutch three-pointers. The first broke a 30-30 tie on Green Bay’s first possession after halftime. The second triple started a 48-second spurt in which Brown scored five points and blocked two shots as the hosts turned a close game into a 51-42 lead with 9:08 to play. The Phoenix led by as many as seven the rest of the night.
Chasing the Horizon League career record for blocked shots, Brown’s eight blocks give him 301 for his career. He needs just nine more to break the record of 309 set last season by Youngstown State’s Damian Eargle. He is four rejections from breaking his own single-season program record.
After blocking 12 shots on Thursday, Green Bay is now tied for first nationally in blocks per game (7.7). Brown ranks eighth in the country at a career-high 3.3 blocks per contest.
Brown and the Phoenix have two more regular season games, playing next week at Oakland (Feb. 27, 7 p.m.) and Detroit (Saturday, 3 p.m.).
- Green Bay secured its fourth regular season conference championship of the Division I era.
- The Phoenix ranks 10th nationally in field goal percentage defense (38.6%).
- Green Bay improved to 12-2 at home this season and 46-11 at home in four seasons under head coach Brian Wardle.
- The Phoenix earned one vote in this week’s Associated Press Top-25 Poll. It is the second time in 2013-14 that Green Bay has received votes.
- Green Bay has held its past three opponents to below 55 points.
- The team’s 12 blocks on Thursday are the third-most in program history.
- The top-10 single-game blocks efforts in program history have come during Brown’s career.
- Green Bay extended its program and Horizon League record for blocks in a season (207).
- The Phoenix has blocked 10 or more shots six times this season.
- Junior Keifer Sykes is the first Green Bay player since Rahmon Fletcher (2009-11) to score 500 or more points in back-to-back seasons. Sykes is the fourth player in the program’s Division I history to score 500-plus in consecutive seasons (Fletcher, Jeff Nordgaard, Tony Bennett).
- With 548 points this season, Sykes has scored the eighth-most points in a single season in team history, passing his 2012-13 scoring total.
- Only Jeff Nordgaard and Tony Bennett have scored more points in a season than Sykes in Green Bay’s Division I history.
- Sykes has made 172 free throws this season to break his own single-season school record of 159 set last season. The junior ranks eighth nationally in free throws made.
- Brown’s eight blocks on Thursday are tied for the third-most in program history and third-most in his career.
- He has blocked six or more shots in a game nine times during his career.
- Brown is shooting 42.7 percent from long range this season, ranking fifth in the Horizon League.
- With 1633 points, Brown now ranks seventh on the program’s all-time scoring chart.
- Sophomore Jordan Fouse posted a double-double on Thursday with 10 points and 12 rebounds. It was his second of the season and sixth of his career.
- Fouse has 62 steals this season, more than any sophomore in program history. Fouse broke the freshman record with 55 steals in 2012-13.
- Fouse’s 62 steals are six shy of breaking the program single-season steals record of 67 set by Terry Evans in 2008-09.
- Junior Alfonzo McKinnie scored a career-high nine points on Thursday and also blocked three shots.
- In Horizon League play, junior Greg Mays ranks first in field goal percentage (61.7%). Mays has made nine of his past 11 shots from the field.
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