Phoenix Rally Falls Short to Hot-Shooting Titans
RENO, Nevada (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Playing its third game in as many days, Green Bay (2-2) whittled a 26-point second half deficit down to four late in its World Vision Classic contest against Cal State Fullerton (2-2), but the furious Phoenix rally was not enough in a 93-82 setback.
Junior Alec Brown (Winona, MInn.) led the Phoenix with 20 points and Green Bay again dominated the rebounding battle (41-26), but the slow start and the hot shooting of Kwame Vaughn and the Titans were ultimately too much to overcome. Vaughn finished the contest with a game-high 29 points on 8-of-10 shooting and Cal State Fullerton shot 54.7 percent from the field (29-53) and 50 percent from long range (10-20).
The Phoenix trailed 14-2 just five minutes into the game, and Fullerton made 10 of its first 11 shots to lead 30-8 with 9:50 on the clock. Meanwhile, Green Bay connected on just 1-of-11 three-pointers in the first half and was behind 48-30 at the break. Limited to just eight minutes because of three fouls, leading scorer Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) did not score in the first half.
The deficit ballooned to 26 with 14:59 to play, but the resilient Phoenix refused to surrender. A 21-6 run by Green Bay over the next five-plus minutes included six points by senior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) and cut it to 71-59 with 9:10 to play.
It was still a 13-point margin with 5:53 to play, but junior Sultan Muhammad (Grand Rapids, Mich.) scored five points during an 11-4 run that had Green Bay within four (81-77) with 2:56 to play. Down six with 1:10 on the clock, Brown had a look at a three-pointer to make it a one-possession game but found the back iron. The Titans, who went 25-of-29 from the line, made all eight of their free throws in the last minute so ice the game.
Two newcomers joined Brown in double figures as key bright spots for the Phoenix. Muhammad knocked down a trio of three-pointers and finished with 11 points and six rebounds while freshman stat stuffer Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) had 11 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. The 6-foot-7 Fouse is averaging 6.8 points and eight rebounds per game.
Sykes scored all nine of his points in the second half while Cougill finished the game with eight points, six rebounds and a career-high six assists. Sophomore Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) provided nine points and four boards off the bench.
Green Bay finally gets a day off from competition on Monday, but it stays on the road and is back in action on Tuesday night at Idaho at 9:05 p.m. CT.
Read a full season preview of the men's basketball team and watch a 1-on-1 interview with Wardle.
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