NOTEBOOK: Balance, Unselfishness Helped Post Win Over NDSU
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's basketball returned home on Saturday after a challenging road trip and in need of some kind rims and a big win over a streaking opponent with a stingy defense. The team was shooting just 22.6 percent from long range, a number that in part help keep the team's assist numbers down to just 12 per game.
In its 74-59 win over visiting North Dakota State, those numbers were reversed against a Bison team that came in allowing just 56.8 points per game. The opening possession ended with a Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) three-pointer off a pass from Sultan Muhammad and Green Bay was on its way to a wire-to-wire win. Nineteen assists and eight three-pointers later, the Phoenix had shot over 50 percent (9-17) from long range and placed five players in double figures.
"We beat a very good, very well coached team tonight," said head coach Brian Wardle after the game. "We had more legs under us today and we shot the ball better because of it. We moved the ball really well on offense, with great reversals and getting the ball from side to side and inside out. It was a good team win."
In his first career start, Muhammad knocked down 4-of-6 three-pointers en route to 13 points and junior Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) made 3-of-5 from long range and chipped in 12 points.
Sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) tallied four assists in the contest and led the five double-figure scorers with a game-high 21 points. Proving his ability to create his own shot, Sykes made all four of the team's unassisted field goals as Green Bay had helpers on 20 of 24 made field goals.
"It was a quiet 21 and I said that in the locker room, but that is what you want in a point guard," said Wardle. "With really good point guards you get quiet points. Keifer picked his spots and attacked when he needed to and pulled it back when he needed to. He was a good floor general out there."
With five coming from Cougill, the team's leader in assists, Green Bay got 12 assists from its starting frontline. Junior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) had a career-high four assists while freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) added three. Cougill (12) and Brown (10) were the fourth and fifth Phoenix scorers in double digits.
It was the first time Green Bay had placed five players in double figures since Feb. 12, 2012 at Detroit and the last time the team handed out 20 assists since Dec. 31, 2011 at Valparaiso.
Green Bay returns to the road to start a three-game swing on Saturday at Virginia, playing the Tony Bennett-led Cavaliers at 3 p.m. CT in a game televised by Fox Sports. Bennett, a Phoenix Hall of Famer, played for Green Bay from 1988-92 and is still the program's all-time leading scorer.
Read a full season preview of the men's basketball team and watch a 1-on-1 interview with Wardle.
Full season ticket and Pick 5 packages are on sale now with the Green Bay Athletics Ticket Office. For more information and to order tickets, please call 920.465.2625, visit the athletics department offices in the Kress Events Center or access GreenBayPhoenix.com/tickets.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.