GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's basketball team is on a five-game winning streak on its home floor, and as the team's rate of offensive success has wavered somewhat at home, the team's defense has been a constant at the Resch Center. Starting with a historic 49-47 victory over Marquette, head coach Brian Wardle's team has allowed just 47.4 points per game during the 5-0 stretch.
Four of the five opponents have been held in the forties, with South Dakota as the exception in a 72-55 victory on Dec. 22. Last week, Green Bay evened its Horizon League record with wins over Loyola and UIC, holding the teams to just 45 and 47 points, respectively. This season marks the first time since the 2000-01 season that Green Bay has held four different opponents in the forties.
The Phoenix defense held Loyola to just 12 first-half points, a season low for an opponent in any half, and the Ramblers shot just 31.6 percent for the game. On Saturday against the Flames, UIC scored only 21 points after halftime as Green Bay rallied for a 53-47 win.
While opponents have shot just 33.8 percent combined during the winning streak, blocks and steals have also been a factor in the stifling defense. Freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) tied a school-record with seven steals against Loyola and has 11 steals in the five games. Sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) has added eight steals as that duo has combined for 43 steals on the season.
The all-time leader in blocked shots in Green Bay history, junior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) has seen his blocks number decline somewhat this season as teams have keyed on keeping shots away from the Phoenix big man. However, the 7-foot-1 Brown has blocked four shots in each of the past two games to vault into a tie for second in the Horizon League in blocked shots per game (1.4).
Rebounding has also been important to the Phoenix defense. After allowing six offensive rebounds in the first half against UIC, Green Bay did not allow a second-chance opportunity after halftime. The Phoenix is outrebounding its opponents by 3.8 boards during its home winning streak.
The Phoenix will look to keep it going on Thursday, when it welcomes a high-octane offense in Youngstown State to the Resch Center for a 7 p.m. tip-pff. The Penguins rank second in the Horizon League in scoring offense at 71.7 points per game.
- Green Bay has improved to 7-1 on the season at home and 29-7 in the past three seasons.
- With the victories over Loyola and UIC, Green Bay is now 7-0 against teams from Chicago in the past two seasons (Loyola 3-0, UIC 3-0, Chicago State 1-0).
- The Phoenix has outrebounded five of its last six opponents.
- In a statistic that Green Bay is unable to defend, its last three opponents are a combined 48-for-52 at the free-throw line.
- Green Bay's 36.5 percent opponents' field goal percentage ranks first in the Horizon League.
- The Phoenix is second in rebound margin (+3.2) and tied for first in blocked shots (5.0) in league play.
- In the past five games, five different players have led the Phoenix in scoring and five different players have led the team in rebounding.
- Green Bay is 6-0 this season when leading with five minutes to play but against UIC improved to 2-8 when trailing with five minutes left.
- The Phoenix is 7-0 when holding its opponents below 60 points.
- Junior Alec Brown had a season-high 21 points in the win over UIC. He added eight rebounds and four blocked shots to his 51st career double-figure scoring output.
- Brown now has 941 career points and with 59 more points will become the 25th member of the program's 1,000-point club.
- With eight blocks in the past two games, Brown now has 179 career blocked shots and has blocked a shot in 66 of 78 career games.
- Brown has knocked down nine three-pointers this season after making just six in his first two seasons combined.
- Sophomore Keifer Sykes has led the team in assists in 11-straight games.
- Sykes had 14 assists and just four turnovers in two wins last week and has 70 assists and 32 turnovers since the season opener.
- Scoring seven points, Sykes had his streak of consecutive games in double figures end at 12-straight games.
- Sykes has now scored 601 career points in just 47 games (12.8 points per game).
- Sophomore Greg Mays is averaging 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in eight games as a starter. He is shooting 61.7 percent with 12 dunks in that stretch.
- Junior Kam Cerroni saw his school-record streak of 40 consecutive free throws end on Saturday. He made 3-of-4 and is now 28-of-29 this season.
- On the strength of his first career double-double against Loyola (13 points, 11 rebounds), Jordan Fouse is the only Horizon League freshman ranked among the league leaders in rebounds (4th), blocks (4th) or steals (t7th).
Single-game tickets are on sale 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.
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