March Madness Begins as Green Bay Ends Regular Season on Saturday
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – March Madness begins with the end of the 2013-14 regular season on Saturday when RV/RV Green Bay (23-5, 13-2 HL) visits Detroit (13-17, 6-9 HL) at 3 p.m. CST. The Phoenix will be looking for its fifth-straight victory and to complete the road portion of the Horizon League schedule at 7-1.
Most recently, Green Bay overcame a 15-point second-half deficit in a road game at Oakland, holding the Golden Grizzlies to just 19 points after halftime in a 71-63 victory. Led by senior Alec Brown’s (Winona, Minn.) 18 points, four different Phoenix players reached double figures in the win. Sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) locked down defensively on Oakland’s Travis Bader (6 points, 1-11 FGs) and finished with a season-high 16 points and nine rebounds.
Green Bay’s second-half defense on Thursday continued a trend during the current winning streak. The Phoenix has held Youngstown State, Cleveland State, Valparaiso and Oakland to 52.5 points on 36.1 percent shooting.
GREEN BAY PROBABLE STARTERS
G – #24 Keifer Sykes, G, Jr., 5-11, 175
G – #12 Carrington Love, G, So., 6-1, 171
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
INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay and Detroit will be meeting for the 47th time in the all-time series, with the Titans owning a 14-8 in games played in the Motor City, including the past three meetings. Green Bay has won the past two games, including a 62-52 win this season on Jan. 26.
ZO KNOWS COMEBACKS: Junior Alfonzo McKinnie (Chicago, Ill.) has played in only six games this season, but recently he has proven his impact. McKinnie missed 22 of the first 23 games of the season due to a knee injury. In the past four games, McKinnie is averaging 6.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 14 minutes per game. On Thursday night, McKinnie made 4-of-5 shots (2-2 threes) and finished with a season-high 10 points.
SYKES SET APART: Ranking 23rd nationally in points per game, junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) is one of only two players nationally in the country (Canisius’ Billy Baron) averaging 20-plus points (20.1), five-plus assists (5.0) and four-plus rebounds per game (4.4). The Horizon League Player of the Year candidate has reached double figures in 27 of 28 games this season, including every game in conference play. He has been named Player of the Week a record six times.
FIRST MEETING: Green Bay posted a 62-52 win over visiting Detroit back on Jan. 26 at the Resch Center. The victory happened despite the Phoenix shooting just 28.3 percent from the field, a program all-time low in a win. Green Bay held a sizable advantage at the free-throw line, making 34-of-41. Going 11-of-12 from the line, Sykes had 22 points and eight rebounds.
CHARITY WORK: This season, Sykes has made 172 free throws to break his own single-season program record for free throws made (159), set in 2012-13. Sykes leads the Horizon League and ranks tenth nationally in free throws made. With 399 free throws made in his career, Sykes already ranks fourth in program history.
CROWNED CHAMPIONS: For the first time in 18 years, Green Bay has secured the regular season conference title. The 1995-96 Phoenix squad finished at 25-4 overall and posted a perfect 16-0 mark in conference play.
RECEIVING VOTES: For the first time this season, Green Bay is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
SOPHOMORE STEALS: With 63 steals this season, Fouse is just five shy of breaking the Green Bay single-season record of 67 set by Terry Evans in 2008-09. Already ranking ninth in Phoenix history in career steals (117), Fouse holds the program’s freshman and sophomore records.
STANDING TALL ALONE: In four years with the Phoenix, Brown has put himself among the all-time greats in program league history. The Winona, Minn., native enters Thursday ranking in Green Bay’s top-10 with 1,633 points (7th), 782 rebounds (3rd) and 301 career blocks (1st). Brown is the program’s leading rebounder at the Division I level and the lone player in Horizon League history to post 1,500-plus points, 750-plus rebounds and 250-plus blocks.
BROWN’S BLOCKS: The program’s all-time leading shot blocker, Brown holds the top-four single-season rejection totals at Green Bay (59, 67, 88, 89) and needs just two to break his own record. With Brown on the roster, Green Bay has broken the team record for blocks in four-straight seasons and this season has blocked a Horizon League record 210 shots.
ANOTHER RECORD IN REACH: With 303 career blocks, Brown is chasing the Horizon League career blocks record of 309 set last season by Youngstown State’s Damian Eargle.
MOVING ON UP: Brown is seventh in Green Bay history in scoring (1,651 points). Sykes has scored 1,438 career points and needs just four more points to move into the top-10.
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