Streaking Phoenix Hits Windy City to End Regular Season

Courtesy: Green Bay Athletics
Release: February 22, 2012
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Brian Wardle, a native of the Chicago area, and his Phoenix team play Loyola on Thursday.

By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)

GREEN BAY, Wis. ( - Winners of three-straight and six of its last eight games, Green Bay (13-14, 8-8 HL) hits the road to end the regular season with a pair of games in Chicago. The first test will be on Thursday night when the Phoenix plays at Loyola at 7 p.m. at the newly renovated Gentile Center.

Head coach Brian Wardle, a native of nearby Willowbrook, will bring a strong contingent of players and staff from the Chicago area to the Windy City. The Phoenix roster includes six Chicago natives, including freshman point guard Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.), and two of Wardle's assistant coaches have ties to the city.

Sykes has scored in double figures in eight games in a row and has been incredible in Horizon League play, averaging 13.1 points and 4.2 assists per game. In Green Bay's 71-67 home win over Cleveland State, the point guard had 13 points and five assists while playing 40 minutes.

Wisconsin native Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) enters the weekend streaking as well. The top three-point shooter in the Horizon League is shooting 46.6 percent from long range and has made a three in 16 consecutive games. He had five threes and 17 points in Tuesday's win.

Green Bay won the first meeting against Loyola 57-47, with sophomore Alec Brown scoring a team-high 14 points. The Ramblers have won two of their last four games on the strength of strong play from junior Ben Averkamp, a Wisconsin native who leads the team in scoring (14.7) and rebounding (7.2). 

The game will also be broadcast live on WDUZ The Fan with the pregame show beginning at 11:45 a.m. Matt Menzl and Andrew Gavin will be on the call for the radio broadcast. To listen live online, click here.   

• INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay holds a 23-15 advantage in the all-time series with Loyola and has won five of the past six games. The lone exception during that run was a 79-62 loss at the Gentile Center on Feb. 12, 2011. Loyola holds a 10-7 margin in the series on its home court. 

• THE FIRST MEETING: In the first meeting this season, Green Bay sprinted out to a 32-12 halftime lead and staved off a great effort from Loyola in the second half to win 57-47. Walt Gibler, who has missed the last two games due to injury, scored a game-high 18 points for the Ramblers while Phoenix sophomore Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) was the lone Phoenix player in double figures with 14. Green Bay had nine different players score in the contest. 

• HOME SWEET HOME: Green Bay went 12-2 at the Resch Center this season, completing one of its best ever seasons at the facility. The Phoenix went 13-2 at home during the 2008-09 season. Green Bay has a 22-6 home record in two seasons under head coach Brian Wardle.

• BACK HOME ON THE ROAD: The Phoenix brings nine different players and coaches from the Chicago area to the Windy City this weekend. All six Green Bay players from Chicago are newcomers, including sophomore Terry Johnson and freshmen Aaron Armstead, Jared Dimakos, Josh Humphrey, Greg Mays and Keifer Sykes. The Chicago natives combined for 28 points in Tuesday's win.

• CAN I SEE SOME ID?: Sykes is in the running for Horizon League Newcomers of the Year. Since turning 18 on Dec. 30, the freshman is averaging 14.4 points and 4.6 assists in 14 games. Since becoming eligible to vote, the country's second-youngest player has scored in double figures in 13 of 14 games, including eight in a row. He leads all Horizon League freshmen in points, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio and is eighth in the conference in scoring in league play.

• CERRONI STREAKIN': Cerroni, the Horizon League's top three-point shooter at 46.6 percent, has consistently given the Phoenix a presence from long distance. After hitting five threes Tuesday against CSU, Cerroni has now drained a three-pointer in 16-straight games and in 20 of the past 21. He is now 55-of-118 from long range this season. In league play, Cerroni is shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 10.9 points per game.

• CERRONI IN THE CLUTCH: In the last five minutes of games this season, Cerroni leads the Phoenix in scoring. Cerroni has knocked down 13-of-24 threes (54.2 percent), 20-of-23 free throws (87 percent) during those minutes.

• TOP THE CHARTS: Brown has broken the program's single-game, single-season and career blocked shots records this season. The 7-foot-1 Brown has 81 blocks this season and 148 for his career. He has a block in 52 of 59 career games and became the program's all-time leader in the category in just 54 career games. 

• SWAT TEAM: Led by Brown's record-breaking season, Green Bay has tallied 127 blocks to break the program's single-season team record of 119 set last season.


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