Quick Start Not Enough to Hold Off Host Badgers
MADISON, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Visiting Green Bay (3-6) jumped out to an early 9-2 lead and stayed in front for the majority of the first half, but foul trouble to sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) and a slow start to the second half hurt the Phoenix as Wisconsin (7-4) posted a 65-54 victory in non-conference men's basketball action at the Kohl Center on Wednesday night.
Sykes scored a team-high 14 points and senior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead a Phoenix team which held a 35-32 advantage on the glass.
With an early season start which included seven of nine games away from home and over 4,000 miles of travel in the books, the Phoenix will kick off a four-game homestand on Saturday when Southern Illinois visits the Resch Center at 7 p.m.
After the teams traded the first two baskets of the game, Green Bay went on a 7-0 spurt capped by a three-pointer from Sultan Muhammad (Grand Rapids, Mich.) to lead 9-2 at the first media timeout. Wisconsin closed to 13-10 but freshman Carrington Love (Milwaukee, Wis.) scored on consecutive drives to extend the margin back to seven (17-10) at the 9:17 mark.
Despite not being whistled for a foul in the opening nine minutes, fouls started to pile up for the Phoenix at that point. Sykes, after scoring six points early, had two fouls in a three-minute stretch and went to the bench at the 3:30 mark with Green Bay leading 23-20. With Sykes on the bench, the Badgers would score the next seven points of the half and go to the locker room up 27-23.
That run would continue after the intermission, with Wisconsin going on a 15-6 run to extend to its biggest lead of the night at 45-29 with 13:30 to play.
Junior Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) would drain a three to stop the Badger run and start a 9-2 spurt that moved the deficit into single digits with 10:31 remaining (47-38). The teams played fairly evenly the rest of the way, but Green Bay would get no closer than nine.
Green Bay committed just two of its nine turnovers after halftime but was whistled for 21 fouls compared to 11 for Wisconsin. The Phoenix got off to a hot shooting start but connected on only 11-of-31 shots from the field in the second half, including 2-of-7 from long range, and finished the game at 37.5 percent (21-56).
On the strength of 11 offensive rebounds, the Phoenix held an 11-5 edge in second chance points and also outscored the Badgers 10-0 in fastbreak points.
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