Green Bay Starts Slow, Drops Tourney Opener at YSU
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Visiting a place which brought back bad memories, Green Bay (15-15) was reminded why early on in Tuesday's Horizon League Tournament opener at the Beeghly Center. Sixth-seeded Youngstown State (16-14) raced out to an early lead by making eight of its first 11 three-pointers and never looked back in a 77-60 defeat of seventh-seeded Green Bay. The loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Phoenix, who entered the tourney as the Horizon League's hottest team.
Green Bay fell 77-47 in Youngstown on Jan. 22 but had won eight of its last 10 games since, including a 71-65 win over YSU on Feb. 14. On Tuesday, All-Horizon League selection Kendrick Perry scored 12 early points as the Penguins raced ahead 14-4 just five minutes into the game. YSU stayed hot with DuShawn Brooks knocking down four three-pointers, the last of which put the hosts up 38-22 with 7:14 on the clock.
Sophomore Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.), named to the All-Horizon League first-team on Monday, capped a 10-3 run with a three-point play as the young Green Bay squad closed to 41-32 three minutes before halftime. A late dunk by Damian Eargle left Green Bay behind 45-34 at the break.
YSU opened the second half with an 8-3 run on the strength of two three-pointers to increase its lead to 53-47, and Green Bay would get no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
Brown was a bright spot on a difficult day for the Phoenix, scoring 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds. He made 9-of-14 shots from the field and 2-of-3 free throws. Through 62 career games, Brown has now tallied 739 points, 425 rebounds and 156 blocked shots.
Freshman Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.), a member of the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team, struggled to a 3-of-11 shooting night in the only building in which he failed to reach double figures since Dec. 29. He finished with nine points and four assists, ending a streak of 10-straight games with 10 or more points which started on Jan. 22 at YSU.
Sykes now has 335 in his freshman campaign, the most points scored by a Green Bay freshman since Tony Bennett in 1988-89 and the third-most scored by a Phoenix freshman since the Division I era began in 1981-82.
Senior Steve Baker (St. Paul, Minn.), the only other active player other than Brown to have previously played in a Horizon League tourney game, had eight points and four assists off the Phoenix bench while junior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) also scored eight.
Damian Eargle led five Youngstown players in double figures with 17 points and nine rebounds. Brooks tallied 16 points while Perry was quieted after his early outburst and finished with 15 points.
Underclassmen played 150 of the 200 total minutes for Green Bay, which finished the game shooting 24-of-53 from the field and 4-of-12 from long range. Baker made two of the three-pointers, giving the career 42.3 percent shooter from long range 60 threes in his two years in a Phoenix jersey.
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