GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - After an eight-day road trip which featured four games in five days, the Phoenix returns home on Saturday, albeit briefly. Saturday's contest against North Dakota State (5-1) at 7 p.m. is the team's lone game at the Resch Center in an eight-game stretch spanning 35 days. Green Bay (2-3) is 1-0 at home in 2012-13, defeating Chicago State 72-67 in the season opener on Nov. 10.
Tickets for Saturday's contest can be purchased at the Resch Center Box Office, by calling the Green Bay Athletics Ticket Office at 920.465.2625 or by visiting GreenBayPhoenix.com/tickets.
Green Bay holds a 6-2 record all-time against North Dakota State and a 5-0 mark in the series at home, but the Phoenix dropped a close one last year's contest in Fargo 65-61. The Phoenix won 71-69 at the Resch on Nov. 27, 2010.
The Phoenix enters the contest at 2-3 after three games in a row while North Dakota State has won four-straight games since a loss at No. 1 Indiana. Green Bay is led in scoring by sophomore Keifer Sykes (15.4 ppg) and senior Brennan Cougill (12.0 ppg) while sharpshooter Mike Felt leads the Bison in scoring off the bench at 14.7 points per game and has made 23-of-44 threes.
Green Bay most recently played at Idaho on Tuesday, falling 72-62 to the host Vandals despite 19 points and six rebounds from Cougill and 13 from Sykes. Junior All-Horizon League performer Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) was limited to just six first-half minutes due to foul trouble and finished with nine points and four rebounds.
The Bison won all three of its games in the Progressive Legends Classic played at Duquesne, defeating Youngstown State 83-80 in overtime, Duquesne 57-43 and James Madison 66-44.
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX: Fans in the seats or those unable to attend Saturday's will be able to follow the action in numerous ways on Saturday night. The game will be carried live by WDUZ The Fan and online at thefan1075.com. The play-by-play voice of the Phoenix Matt Menzl will be on the call with Cordero Barkley. Live stats and live video will be available on GreenBayPhoenix.com. You can also stay up-to-date by following @GBPhoenixMBB and @GBGavin on Twitter.
FAST START FOR THE FROSH: Head coach Brian Wardle started a true freshman in the opener for the third-straight season, and freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) has made it look like a great decision. The 6-foot-7 Fouse has been a monster on the glass and is averaging 6.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks through five games. He has led the team in rebounding in three times.
OLD FOR 18: Sykes entered the 2012-13 season as a starting point guard and a team captain. He entered as a Preseason All-Horizon League Second-Team. He entered the year after a season in which he scored 335 points and was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team. Amazingly, he also entered as an 18-year old, and he will stay that way through the first 13 games of his sophomore campaign. After playing his first 13 games at age 17, Sykes is now averaging 14.9 in 22 games as an 18-year old.
THIRTY-SOMETHING: Sykes' 31-point effort in the home opener against Chicago State was the first 30-point game by a Phoenix player since Troy Cotton tallied 36 at Akron on March 17, 2010 and the first under Wardle. It was also the fifth time that a Phoenix player had notched 30 or more points in the Resch Center and first since Ryan Tillema scored 32 against UIC on Feb. 25, 2008.
HOME SWEET HOME: Green Bay won its home opener over Chicago State to improve to 23-6 in three seasons at home under head coach Brian Wardle. In its 10-plus seasons at the Resch Center, the Phoenix is 98-34 for a .742 winning percentage. Green Bay is 13-2 at home in the past two seasons.
BACKBOARD BEASTS: Despite being outrebounded at Idaho, the Phoenix has been dominant on the glass on both ends of the court through five games this season. Green Bay leads the Horizon League in rebounds per game (40.6), rebounding margin (+7.4), offensive rebounds (15.0), offensive rebounding percentage (.385) and defensive rebounding percentage (.736). The Phoenix represents three of the top-10 rebounders in the conference - Alec Brown and Jordan Fouse (t4th, 7.6) and Brennan Cougill (6.8).
DOUBLE THE FUN: In its Division I history, Green Bay has had two players post double doubles on just four ocassions. Remarkably, three of the four have come under Wardle in the past three seasons. The most recent was against Southern Utah on Nov. 16 when Brown had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Cougill registered 17 points and 10 boards in the 64-52 win.
ELITE COMPANY: Brown was in elite company in 2011-12. Brown, then a sophomore, was one of only two players to average at least 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks per game. The other? Kentucky's Anthony Davis, who was selected first overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Brown is a Preseason All-Horizon League First-Team selection heading into 2012-13.
FREE FOR ALL: Green Bay's offensive struggles against Chicago State did not stop the team from breaking long-standing school records or from surpassing 70 points. The Phoenix knocked down a school-record 41 free throws (41-48) against Chicago State, breaking a program record which had stood for 32-plus years since Feb. 23, 1980 (37 vs. Northland). Sykes had 17 of the team's free throws (17-19), breaking the individual record of 15.
BLOCK PARTY: In his time at Green Bay, 7-foot-1 Alec Brown has swatted 163 shots to shatter the Phoenix career record. With 89 blocks as a sophomore, Brown averaged 3.0 per game, a number that ranked in the top-10 nationally. Green Bay is third in the Horizon League this season at 4.2 per game.
HOMEGROWN: A year after bringing in a talented freshman class of Chicago natives, Wardle looked closer to home for seniors from the Class of 2012. The Phoenix roster consists of four freshmen from Wisconsin, including Nick Arenz (Onalaska, Wis.), Ryan Bross (Menomonee Falls, Wis.), Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) and Carrington Love (Milwaukee, Wis.).
COME JOIN: Not to ignore his home area of Chicago, Wardle also welcomed a pair of transfers who come to Green Bay from the Chicago area. Junior college transfer Sultan Muhammad, a Michigan native, played at Chicago's South Suburban College and will be making his Phoenix debut on Saturday. Eastern Illinois transfer Alfonzo McKinnie, who must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules, is a Chicago native and former high school teammate of Sykes.
TALL ORDER: Wardle pledged early on in his tenure to add height and length to the Phoenix roster. Consider it mission accomplished as the roster's 14 players have an average height of over 6-foot-5. The addition of the 7-foot-1 Bross gives Green Bay a pair of seven-footers, and six others stand at least 6-foot-6. Newcomers McKinnie (6-8), Arenz (6-8) and Fouse (6-7) will help to make Green Bay one of the tallest teams in the Horizon League. Sykes is the roster's lone player under six feet tall.
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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