GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Taking a step away from Horizon League play, Green Bay looks to bring its momentum to the Hawkeye State on Saturday when it travels to Des Moines for a BracketBuster contest at Drake. Against the Missouri Valley Conference opponent, the Phoenix will try to extend its overall and road winning streaks to four games before hosting the final two conference games next week against Milwaukee (Tuesday) and Valparaiso (Saturday).
Green Bay is coming off one its most impressive weekends of the season after going to Ohio and posting comeback wins over both Cleveland State (66-59) and Youngstown State (71-54). Sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) averaged 23.5 points on the week and Monday was named the Horizon League Player of the Week for the third time, and freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) was tabbed Newcomer of the Week for the second time after averaging 7.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games.
The Phoenix has not played Drake since the 1984-85 season in Des Moines, when the Bulldogs won the only all-time meeting 68-61.
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX: Fans will be able to catch Saturday's night's game on WDUZ The Fan 107.5 FM/1400 AM and online at thefan1075.com. The play-by-play voice of the Phoenix Matt Menzl will be on the call alongside Andrew Gavin. Live stats will be available on GoDrakeBulldogs.com. You can also stay up-to-date by following @GBPhoenixMBB and @GBGavin on Twitter.
You can watch the game online on a pay-per-view basis by signing up for a monthly pass on True Blue TV for $9.95.
1. HOMECOMING: Senior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) returns to his home state, where the Sioux City native was a high school standout and the state's Mr. Basketball in 2009. That season at Bishop Heelan, Cougill averaged 18.2 points and 13.2 rebounds per game while leading the team to a 3A state championship. Cougill played his freshman season at Iowa and was an All-American at Kirkwood Community College as a sophomore before transferring to Green Bay.
2. SECOND-HALF SYKES: Sykes, now one of just two Horizon League players to be named Player of the Week at least three times this season, has excelled in the clutch. He scored 38 of his 47 points in the second half last week on 10-of-13 shooting from the field and hitting 15-of-16 free throws. He has scored 70 points after halftime in the past four games. For the season, Sykes averages 9.3 points per game after halftime.
3. TOP OF THE CLASS: Fouse is in the conversation for Newcomer of the Year in the Horizon League. The stat stuffer leads the league in rebounding in HL play and overall is in the top-4 in rebounding (2nd), steals (3rd) and blocks (4th). With four rebounds on Saturday, Fouse will break the program's freshman rebounding record of 209 set in 1969-70 (program's first season).
• BLOCK PARTY: Junior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) has blocked 39 shots in Horizon League play to become the fourth player in league history with more than 200 career rejections. The 7-foot-1 Brown is third in Horizon League history in blocks, behind only YSU's Damian Eargle (289) and Dan Godfread (226) from Evansville. Brown's 51 blocks this season are the third-most all-time, behind only his totals as a sophomore (89) and a freshman (67).
• REJECTIONS REGISTERED: With Brown (51), Fouse (39), Mays (17) and Cougill (13) all in double figures in blocks, the Phoenix has now swatted 133 shots on the season. That total is the second-most all-time, behind only last season's 142 and just in front of the third-best total in program history, the 119 blocks in Brown's freshman season.
• ROOKIE RISING: Fouse has proven himself to be one of the best rebounders and defenders in the Horizon League, but is also making his mark on the Phoenix record book. The 6-foot-7 freshman has grabbed 206 rebounds, the most in the Division I era and just four shy of breaking the 44-year old freshman record, set by Dennis Woeffler (209) in the program's first season, 1969-70. With 45 steals, Fouse trails only Tony Bennett (49) and Terry Evans (50) for most by a Phoenix freshman. Finally, Fouse's 39 blocks are the second-most by a Phoenix freshman (Alec Brown's 67 in 2010-11) and the ninth-best single-season total in team history.
• GLASS CLEANERS: Led by Fouse, Green Bay is the top rebounding team in the Horizon League action with a rebounding margin of plus-4.8. Three players (Fouse, Brown, Cougill) are in the top eight in the conference overall in rebounding. Sophomore Greg Mays is in the top-10 in league play, helping the Phoenix to a rebound margin of plus-6.4. Fouse leads the league in offensive rebounds (2.4) while Brown is tied for fourth (2.0).
• COMEBACK TIME: Green Bay has shown the ability to come back and handle adversity throughout the season. Most recently, the Phoenix has overcome a second-half deficit in each of its past five victories. The team has won its last four games following a loss, and ended a season-long four-game losing streak by defeating Marquette 49-47 on Dec. 19.
• DEFEND THE HORIZON: The Phoenix has been among the league's best rebounding and defensive teams in league play. Through 14 games, Green Bay leads in field goal percentage defense (.383), rebounding margin (+6.2) and blocked shots (6.0) and is second in scoring defense (60.1). In its nine league wins, the Phoenix has not allowed more than 63 points and has a scoring defense of 54.6. Four league opponents have had their lowest scoring outing of conference play against the Phoenix (Detroit, Youngstown State, UIC and Loyola).
Single-game tickets for all Phoenix home games 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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