Sykes, Phoenix Unable to Overcome Panthers' Shooting
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Freshman Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) poured in a career-high 25 points and the Phoenix shot 50 percent (27-54) from the floor Saturday afternoon, but Green Bay (9-13, 5-7 HL) could not overcome 12 three-pointers from visiting Milwaukee (15-10, 8-5 HL) in an 81-75 loss in Horizon League action at the Resch Center.
Sykes, the freshman point guard who has been on a tear of late, was dominant offensively from the start, scoring or assisting on the team's first eight points. Milwaukee was hot early, however, getting a trio of threes to lead 14-8.
Green Bay tied the score twice in the first half, the first time at 16-16 after back-to-back highlight reel dunks from freshman Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) and the second time moments later on a Sykes layup. After the Panthers pushed a lead back to eight, Sykes cut it to 30-26 with a breakaway dunk with 4:50 to play.
Using a 6-of-10 effort from long range, including 3-of-3 from Paris Gulley, Milwaukee was able to take a 37-30 lead into halftime. Sykes had 12 points at halftime while Gulley led Milwaukee with 11.
The Milwaukee lead reached as many as 10 early in the second half, but Sykes scored 11 points over the next eight minutes as Green Bay chipped away. After a Sykes layup with 11:16 to play, sophomore Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) made a pair of free throws to tie the game at 53 with 10:42 remaining.
The visiting Panthers responded with a 10-2 run to go ahead 63-55 with 6:30 left, and Green Bay was unable to fully recover the rest of the way. The gap closed to three (63-60) on a pair of free throws by sophomore Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.), but Gulley and Kaylon Williams drained back-to-back threes to push the Milwaukee lead back to nine and finished off the win.
Gulley scored 20 points to lead four Panthers in double figures while Williams added 16 points and eight assists as Milwaukee finished 12-of-23 from long range.
Sykes, whose previous career high of 20 also came against Milwaukee, hit 10-of-14 shots in the game while adding three assists. The freshman averaged 16.7 points and 6.7 assists per game in Green Bay's three-game homestand which concluded on Saturday at 2-1.
Brown notched a double double with 18 points and 10 rebounds while also breaking the program's career blocks record with 134 in his 54 games played. With his two blocks on Saturday, he tied the single-season record, which he set with 67 as a freshman last season.
Cerroni took just four shots in the game but finished with 17 points due to a 3-of-4 effort from long range and making 8-of-9 from the free-throw line. As a team, Green Bay made 27-of-54 shots from the field and 17-for-21 from the foul line.
Green Bay returns to action on Friday, playing at Wright State at 8 p.m. in a game televised nationally by ESPNU.
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