Sykes Joins 1,000-Point Club in Gutsy Phoenix Win
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The night did not start off really well on Saturday for junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.), with the All-Horizon League point guard committing four turnovers in the game’s first six minutes. At halftime, he had six points on 2-of-8 shooting as Green Bay (4-2) trailed Tulsa 29-26.
About an hour later, Sykes was sitting at the press conference podium with a huge smile after scoring 25 points and becoming the program’s 26th member of the 1,000-point club. His performance, which included a 13-of-14 effort from the free-throw line and nine assists, helped the Phoenix to a 67-59 victory in the third-place game of the 2013 Great Alaska Shootout.
Tulsa’s lead was still five points two minutes into the second half, but the Phoenix then really turned up the defensive pressure. It was a slow run, but Green Bay spent the next 10 minutes on a 20-10 run which turned the five-point deficit into a five-point lead (51-46) with 7:47 to play.
The final play of that run was a layup from Sykes, which gave him 14 points for the game and an even 1,000 points in his career. Doing so in his 70th game, Sykes is the third-fastest player in the program’s Division I history to reach 1,000 career points. Sykes also became the first Phoenix player since Jeff Nordgaard in 1995-96 to score 20 or more points in five-straight games.
Despite Sykes’ heroics, the biggest shot of the night belonged to Phoenix freshman Turner Botz (Little Chute, Wis.), who with 2:24 to play drilled a corner three-pointer to put Green Bay ahead 59-54. It was the first three attempt of the night for Botz, who has started his career 4-for-4 from long range.
In the final two minutes, Sykes made all eight of his free throws to ice the game. In the past four games, the point guard has made 34 of his past 36 free throws. He is averaging 22.8 points and 4.5 assists per game on the season.
The Green Bay defense held Tulsa to just 30 percent from the field (18-60) and 31.6 percent from long range (6-19). Led by sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.), who was named the Pete Gillen Mighty Moose Player of the Game, the Phoenix had nine steals and six blocked shots.
Fouse played 38 minutes and finished with four points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocked shots. Green Bay bounced back from a tough rebounding night on Friday to outrebound Tulsa 46-33.
Green Bay will return home to host Virginia on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. CT.
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