GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's basketball team got all it could handle from St. Norbert in the opening half of an exhibition game on Wednesday night at the Kress Center, but hot shooting and lockdown defense after intermission helped the Phoenix lead by as many as 27 and cruise to an 83-63 win. The game against the cross-county foe served as the team's only official tune-up for the 2012-13 season, which opens on Nov. 10 when Chicago State visits the Resch Center.
Junior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) made his first three shots and finished 9-of-11 from the field to lead four Phoenix players with 18 points. Senior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) 10 of his 16 points after halftime and added seven rebounds, and sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) and junior Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) added 11 points apiece. Sykes added five assists without a turnover.
Coming out of halftime with a 44-39 lead after St. Norbert shot 55.2 percent in the first 20 minutes, Green Bay imposed its will defensively and scored the first 11 points of the second half. Sykes capped the run with a three-pointer to make it 55-39 with 16:38 to play.
After the teams then traded baskets on three-straight possessions, the Phoenix drained a trio of three-pointers to cap a 14-4 run that increased the Phoenix lead to 74-48 at the 10:19. Cougill sandwiched two threes around a triple from junior Sultan Muhammad (Grand Rapids, Mich.) on three consecutive possessions. On the strength of the two runs, Green Bay had opened the second half with a 30-9 spurt.
Green Bay made just 1-of-6 three-pointers in the first half while St. Norbert drained 5-of-10, but five different Phoenix players made threes as the Phoenix hit 6-of-10 from long range in the second 20 minutes. Junior Daniel Turner (McCordsville, Ind.), who missed the final 16 games of 2011-12 with a torn ACL injury, knocked down his only three-point attempt in his first game action since Dec. 31, 2011.
Freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) started alongside Brown and Cougill on the front line and did not disappoint in a game-high 28 minutes of action. The 6-foot-7 wing finished with seven points, six rebounds, six assists, four blocks and three steals. Muhammad and sophomore Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) led the Phoenix bench with seven and six points, respectively.
"[Jordan] gives us another offensive weapon out there who is very skilled and instinctive," said Cougill. "It is fun to watch your teammates have success out there, and definitely watching Jordan Fouse tonight do his thing was a lot of fun to watch. He always finds the open man, and that makes it a pleasure playing with him."
Green Bay shot 58.2 percent from the field (32-55) and 43.8 percent from long range (7-16) overall. The Phoenix dished out 21 assists and committed just eight turnovers. The team also registered 10 blocked shots.
St. Norbert was led by sophomore Andrew Schwoerer, who scored 14 points. The Green Knights are coached by UW-Green Bay alum and former Phoenix standout Gary Grzesk, who played for the Phoenix from 1992-96.
Read a full season preview of the men's basketball team and watch a 1-on-1 interview with Wardle.
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