Green Bay Seeks Revenge to Start Homestand

Courtesy: Green Bay Athletics
Release: February 14, 2012
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Freshman Keifer Sykes is the Horizon League's lone freshman ranked among scoring leaders.

By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)

GREEN BAY, Wis. ( - After splitting two close road contests, Green Bay returns home on Tuesday to begin a three-game homestand at the Resch Center, hosting Youngstown State at 7 p.m. The three games are the final three of 2011-12 for the Phoenix, which sports an impressive 9-2 record at the Resch this season.

Green Bay will be seeking revenge against a Youngstown State team that defeated it 77-47 in Ohio back on Jan. 22. The Phoenix won its next two contests and has won three of five since that season-worst loss to the Penguins. YSU made 12 three-pointers and outrebounded Green Bay by seven on that day.

Tuesday's game is important as both teams fight for seeding with just a couple of weeks remaining before the Horizon League Tournament. At 9-6, YSU sits just two games out of first place and has an outside chance of getting the double bye that comes with grabbing a top-two seed. With four league games remaining, head coach Brian Wardle's team is hoping to move up into the top six and secure a first-round game at the Resch Center.

The Phoenix success at home can be attributed to a strong offense it has shown of late and the ability to pull out close games. Green Bay is 6-2 at the Resch Center in games decided by 10 points or less.

Green Bay has scored 74 points or more in four of its last five games since losing at YSU. Sophomore Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) and freshman Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) have scored in double figures in every game since Jan. 22, with Brown tallying double digits in seven-straight games.   

• INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay leads the all-time series with Youngstown State 23-7 and has won 14 of the 15 meetings in Green Bay. Youngstown State's 77-47 victory on Jan. 22 ended a five-game winning streak for the Phoenix. The lone Penguin win in Green Bay was on March 4, 2003 when YSU won 65-61 in the Horizon League Tournament.

• THE FIRST MEETING: The first meeting between the two teams was a low-point of the season for the Phoenix, with YSU posting a 30-point win just over three weeks ago. Green Bay was outscored by 30 points from the three-point line, with the Penguins hitting 12 triples and the Phoenix going just 2-of-9 from long range.

• TOP THE CHARTS: Sophomore Alec Brown blocked two shots against Milwaukee on Feb. 4 to move into sole possession of Green Bay's all-time blocks record and now has 139. The 7-foot-1 Brown became the program's all-time leader in the category in just 54 career games. With his three blocks against Wright State on Friday, Brown broke the own single-season blocks record he set as a freshman in 2010-11. He now has 72 in 2011-12.

• SWAT TEAM: Led by Brown's record-breaking sophomore campaign, Green Bay has tallied 112 blocks this season and needs just eight blocks to break the program's record of 119 set in 2010-11. This season is the fourth time that a Phoenix team has blocked at least 100 shots (1991-92, 1997-98). Eleven different players have blocked a shot this season, with junior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) and freshman Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) helping Brown the most with 18 and nine blocks, respectively.

• HOME SWEET HOME: Green Bay is 9-2 at the Resch Center this weekend as it begins a season-ending three-game homestand. The Phoenix has outscored opponents by nearly eight points a game and hit nearly 40 percent from long range at home. Brown leads the team in scoring at home (15.0) while Kam Cerroni (24-46) and Steve Baker (14-28) have hit a combined 38 three-pointers at the Resch Center.

• CAN I SEE SOME ID?: Freshman Keifer Sykes has an impressive stretch going since his 18th birthday, averaging 14.6 points and 4.3 assists per game in 11 games since Dec. 30. Since becoming eligible to vote, the country's second-youngest player scored in double figures in 10 of the 11 contests, with the lone exception coming with an eight-point game at Youngstown State. Sykes ranks first among Horizon League freshmen in points, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio and among the conference's 10 starting point guards, Sykes has the fewest turnovers (48).  Ranking eighth in scoring in league play, he is the lone freshman among the conference's top-20 scorers.

• KAM CATCHIN' FIRE: Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) has consistently been providing the Phoenix with an outside scoring threat. In his 14 starts, Cerroni is averaging 10.9 points per game and shooting 49.4 percent (38-77) from long range. The Horizon League leader in three-point percentage (46.7%) has made a triple in 13-straight games and 17 of the past 18 contests.


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