RENO, Nevada (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Playing its opening game of the World Vision Classic in Reno, Green Bay (2-0) jumped out to an early lead and used a pair of double-doubles to down Southern Utah (0-2) 66-54 on Friday night. The Phoenix improved to 2-0 for the first time since the 1995-96 season. Green Bay, whose game did not end until nearly 1 a.m., will be back in action at 8:05 p.m. CT on Saturday to play tournament host, Nevada (1-1).
Junior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) and senior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) each scored 17 points to lead the Phoenix and grabbed 13 and 10 rebounds, respectively. Brown, who was limited to just eight minutes in the first half because of taking an elbow, registered his 12th career double-double.
In Green Bay's Division I history, there have been only four occasions with teammates recording double-doubles in the same game. Three of the four have come in the past three seasons under head coach Brian Wardle.
Getting two early three-pointers from sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.), Green Bay raced to a double-digit lead just eight minutes in and led 23-10 at the 9:57 mark. Brown went to the bench just three minutes into the game, but returned with four minutes left in the half. The 7-foot-1 All-Horizon League player had the last four points of the half and had nine points, five boards and a pair of blocks at the break despite logging just eight minutes. Green Bay led 34-24 at intermission.
Brown scored four of the first six points of the second half to push the Phoenix lead to 42-28 with 16:40 to play. The Thunderbirds used an 6-0 spurt to cut the deficit to eight and on five other occasions cut the Green Bay lead to single digits, but each time the Phoenix responded with a bucket and finished off the win.
Sykes, who scored 31 points in the opener, added 13 points and four assists while freshman Carrington Love (Milwaukee, Wis.) gave the Phoenix a fourth double-figure scorer with a career-high 11 points. Sykes was a perfect 3-of-3 from long range while Love went 5-of-7 from the field.
Led by Brown and Cougill, Green Bay had a 51-40 edge on the boards and tallied eight blocks, tied for the fifth most in program history.
On Saturday, Green Bay faces a Nevada team that won 28 games a season ago and has one of the country's top mid-major players in Deonte Burton. The Wolfpack got 19 points from Burton on Friday to rally past Cal State Fullerton 80-77.
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.
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