Men's Basketball Opens Great Alaska Shootout Thursday Night
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Returning to Anchorage 20 years later, the Green Bay men’s basketball program opens the Great Alaska Shootout on Thanksgiving Night against Pepperdine at 8:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised nationally by CBS College Sports Network with Brent Stover (play-by-play) and Pete Gillen (analyst) on the call.
The program previously competed in the 1993 Great Alaska Shootout, going 1-2 with a victory over North Carolina State and close losses against a Glenn Robinson led Purdue squad and a Wake Forest team which featured Tim Duncan.
Green Bay began its 2013-14 season with just three games spaced out on three consecutive Saturdays. Now, the Phoenix will play three games in three days beginning on Thursday night. Green Bay will face either Harvard or Denver on Friday before concluding the eight-team tournament on Saturday.
The Phoenix heads to Anchorage after a dominating 92-57 victory over Minnesota Duluth on Saturday night. Junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) scored 21 points while senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) recorded a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots and was named the Horizon League Player of the Week on Monday.
GREEN BAY PROBABLE STARTERS
G – #24 Keifer Sykes, G, Jr., 5-11, 175
G – #5 Lamin Fulton, G, Jr., 5-10, 175
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: For fans who are unable to watch Thursday’s game on CBS College Sports, a radio broadcast of the contest will be available on WNFL 1440 AM and GreenBayPhoenix.com (live audio) with Matt Menzl (play-by-play) and Andrew Gavin (analyst) on the call.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay and Pepperdine have met once previously, with Green Bay winning 57-49 at Brown County Arena on Dec. 30, 1996. Pepperdine and Indiana State (Green Bay leads 2-1) are the only teams in the field that the Phoenix has ever faced.
THIRD TRIPLE-DOUBLE: Brown’s triple-double was the third in the program’s history, and the first accomplished by someone other than Javier Mendiburu, who recorded the first two triple-doubles during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. Brown became the first Green Bay player and the first player in Horizon League history to post a triple-double including blocked shots.
CENTURY CLUB: Thursday’s game will mark the 100th game of head coach Brian Wardle’s career as a head coach and in the career of Alec Brown. Wardle will be looking to even his coaching record at 50-50. Brown has started 98 of 99 career games in a Phoenix uniform and has totaled 1,245 points, 648 rebounds and 229 blocked shots. Brown is a two-time All-Horizon League selection and a Preseason All-Horizon League first-team pick this year.
MID-MAJOR POLL: Green Bay has vaulted up to No. 15 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll after holding steady at No. 21 for the first three polls. Three other teams from the field of the Great Alaska Shootout are in the poll, including Harvard (No. 4), Indiana State (No. 6) and Denver (No. 16) all represented in the poll.
BLOCK PARTY: Green Bay comes to Anchorage as the nation’s top shot-blocking team at 10.33 blocks per game. Senior Alec Brown had 10 rejections against Minnesota Duluth and is averaging 4.7 blocks per game. Sophomore Jordan Fouse has blocked three shots in each game this season. The Phoenix has erased at least nine shots against its first three opponents.
WINNING WEEKLY: Senior Alec Brown was named the Horizon League Player of the Week on Monday for the second time in his career. The 7-foot-1 Brown became the second-straight Phoenix player to win the conference’s weekly award after junior Keifer Sykes won on Nov. 18. Brown and Sykes are the first Phoenix teammates to win in back-to-back weeks since Ryan Tillema and Troy Cotton in 2008-09.
HANDFUL OF HARDWARE: The fifth career Horizon League Player of the Week honor for Sykes ties him for the most in Green Bay history with Jeff Nordgaard. He also ranks tied for 12th in conference history, with former Detroit star Rashad Phillips holding the record with 10. The point guard won the award once as a freshman and three times in 2012-13.
SPACED START: Green Bay played only two times through the first 14 days of the season, tied for the fewest for any team in the country. Only three teams (North Dakota, Weber State, Denver) waited longer before playing their third game. The Phoenix was slated to play twice on opening weekend before the HBCU Tip-Off Championship was cancelled.
COMPETE, DEFEND, REBOUND: This signature Brian Wardle philosophy was on full display in 2012-13 for the Phoenix. In Horizon League play, Green Bay led the conference in rebounding margin, field goal percentage defense and blocked shots. So far this season, Green Bay is carrying over the mantra. Green Bay holds a plus-7.3 rebounding margin, is blocking 10.33 shots per game, and its three opponents have combined to shoot just 33.9 percent from the field.
IN A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN: Brown opened this season in select company as the nation’s only active player with 1,200-plus points, 600-plus rebounds and 200-plus blocks. Brown is only the second player in HL history to accumulate those numbers and is on pace to be the first league player to finish his career with 1,500 points, 750 rebounds and 250 blocks.
CLOSE TO A GRAND: With 937 career points, Sykes is closing in on becoming the program’s 26th member of the 1,000-point club. He is on pace to reach 1,000 points faster than all but two players in the program’s Division I history – Tony Bennett (56 games) and Richard Sims (68). Only five players in program history at any level have scored more points through 67 games than Sykes. Transfer Ray Willis (1969-71) was the fastest player to reach 1,000 points, doing so as a junior and senior in a remarkable 39 games.
BROKEN RECORD: Green Bay and Wisconsin played in front of a program record 9,906 fans last Saturday night. The sellout crowd marked the fourth time that a Phoenix men’s basketball team had played in front of 9,000-plus fans at home.
CAREER NIGHT: Keifer Sykes totaled 30 or more points for the third time in his career with a career-high 32 against No. 20/19 Wisconsin. Sykes has now reached 30 or more points in two of his past four games, has 13 20-point games and has reached double figures in 14 consecutive games and 31 of his past 33 contests. The point guard also set career highs for field goals made (13) and attempted (26).
STREAKING SOPHOMORE: Jordan Fouse opened the 2013-14 by extending two impressive statistical streaks. The 6-foot-7 sophomore wing has blocked at least one shot in 26-straight games after swatting three in each of the first two games. The reigning rebounding champion has also grabbed five or more boards in 22 consecutive games. Fouse is leading the Horizon League in both rebounding (10.3/game) and is second in blocked shots (3.0/game) behind teammate Alec Brown.
FLYING PHOENIX: Through three games, Green Bay has totaled 12 dunks with five different players recording at least one dunk. Including a career-high three dunks last Saturday, 5-foot-11 point guard leads the team with six dunks. In his career, junior Greg Mays has a team-best 36 dunks while senior Alec Brown has 35 career dunks.
BROWN’S BLOCKS: Alec Brown’s 10 blocks against Minnesota Duluth were one shy of his program and Horizon League record 11, set on Jan. 14, 2012 against Wright State. Brown has the top-three single-game block totals in program history and six of the top-11. With 229 career blocks, Brown ranks second all-time in Horizon League history (YSU’s Damian Eargle-309). Brown has 97 more blocks than any other Phoenix player in history and holds the blocks records for game (11), season (89) and career (229). He has blocked at least one shot in 84 of his 99 career games. With Brown on the roster, Green Bay has broken the program’s single-season team record for blocks in each of the past three seasons.
All tickets for the 2013-14 men’s basketball season are on sale now. For more information about season tickets, ticket packages and more, please visit the ticketing page at GreenBayPhoenix.com.
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