Green Bay Opens Horizon League Play at Home on Thursday
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Riding a four-game winning streak, the Horizon League preseason favorite Green Bay opens conference play against visiting Cleveland State on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Resch Center. While the Phoenix held a slight edge in the preseason predictions, the Vikings were picked third in the voting and enter Thursday’s contest with two consecutive victories after winning at Kent State on Saturday.
Green Bay’s season-long five-game homestand has started with double-digit victories over Tennessee Tech (76-49), Fairfield (74-58) and St. Francis (91-41). During the team’s four-game winning streak, senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) has averaged 21.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.5 blocks while junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) has added 15.8 points and five assists per contest.
The Phoenix defense has been stifling during the current homestand, holding its three opponents to a combined 28.3 percent shooting from the field. Green Bay leads the conference in field goal percentage defense (36.9%).
GREEN BAY PROBABLE STARTERS
G – #24 Keifer Sykes, G, Jr., 5-11, 175
G – #35 Vincent Garrett, G, Sr., 6-6, 220
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 unable to attend Thursday night’s game, the contest will televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel with Chris Roth (play-by-play) and Phoenix Hall of Famer Jeff Nordgaard (analyst) on the call. The game will also be available on the Horizon League Network (live video). Matt Menzl (play-by-play) and Cordero Barkley (analyst) will team up for a radio broadcast on WNFL 1440 AM.
HORIZON LEAGUE 3-GAME PACK: Green Bay is offering fans the chance to purchase a Horizon League 3-Game Pack. The 3-game pack begins at just $31 for adults and $19 for youth and allows Phoenix fans to attend any three 2013-14 league games of their choice. Beginning this week, head coach Brian Wardle’s team welcomes each of its conference opponents to the Resch Center in January or February.
HORIZON LEAGUE OPENERS: In 31 conference openers for the Phoenix since joining the Division I ranks, Green Bay has a record of 15-16. Last season, the squad opened the conference season on the road and fell 64-53 at Wright State.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay holds a 39-27 advantage in the all-time series with Cleveland State. After the Vikings had won six of the previous seven against the Phoenix, Green Bay has won the past three meetings. Last season, Sykes averaged 18.5 points and made 14-of-15 free throws and Brown averaged 15.5 points and 5.5 blocks in the two Green Bay wins. The Phoenix shot 53 free throws and CSU attempted only 24.
DIALING LONG DISTANCE: Frequent questions were asked in the preseason about whether three-point shooting would be a Phoenix weakness. Entering Thursday, Green Bay ranks first in the Horizon League in three-point percentage (39.7%). Senior Vince Garrett leads the HL at 61.9 percent (13-21), Brown ranks fourth at 45.9 percent (17-37) and sophomore Carrington Love is tied for 12th at 40 percent (18-45).
BLOCK PARTY: Averaging 8.1 blocks per game, Green Bay ranks second nationally behind only St. John’s (9.5). Brown is 11th in the country at 3.5 blocks per contest. With 97 blocks in 12 games, Green Bay has the sixth-most rejections in a single-season in program history.
MOVING ON UP: With 13 points and seven rebounds against St. Francis, Alec Brown went over 1,400 points and 700 rebounds for his career. Brown now ranks 10th in Green Bay history in scoring (1,401 points) and fifth all-time in career rebounds (707). He is the lone player in Horizon League history to accumulate 1,400 points, 700 rebounds and 250 blocks.
BROWN’S BLOCKS: Brown has effectively blocked shots throughout his time with the Phoenix, but the 7-footer is having the best shot-blocking season of his career as a senior. With 42 blocks, Brown is on pace to break his single-season record of 89 set in 2011-12. With 257 career blocks, he is only 53 shy of breaking the Horizon League record of 309, set by Youngstown State’s Damian Eargle last season.
TREMENDOUS TEENS: Green Bay junior Keifer Sykes turned 20 years old on Monday after scoring 1,108 points in 76 career games as a teenager. The 5-foot-11 Chicago native ranks 22nd all-time on the program’s scoring list, has won a Phoenix record seven Horizon League Player of the Week awards and became the third-fastest player in Green Bay’s Division I era to reach 1,000 points.
ON GUARD: Last season, head coach Brian Wardle’s focus on the defensive end came to fruition with the Phoenix leading the Horizon League in field goal percentage defense and blocks. Green Bay has carried over the strong defense into this season. Wardle’s squad leads the conference in field goal percentage defense (.369) and blocks (8.1) while ranking second in scoring defense (64.3) and third in steals (8.0). Green Bay has held six of its 12 opponents this season to below 31 percent from the field.
GRAND THEFT PHOENIX: With 15 steals against Tennessee Tech, Green Bay came just one shy of tying the program’s record of 16. The 15 swipes tied for the third-most all-time and were the most by a Phoenix squad since Dec. 13, 1989.
STREAKING SOPHOMORE: Sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) opened the 2013-14 season by extending two impressive statistical streaks. The reigning rebounding champion in the Horizon League has grabbed five or more boards in 31 consecutive games. At Eastern Michigan, the 6-foot-7 sophomore wing had a streak of blocking a shot end at 30.
TOUGH LOSSES: Green Bay has dropped three games this season, losing to Wisconsin (13-0), Harvard (11-1) and Eastern Michigan (7-5) teams that have combined for a 31-5 record to date. The Phoenix held a second-half lead against Harvard, and Green Bay is the only team in non-conference action to have been ahead of Wisconsin in the second half.
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.For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.