Green Bay Opens Windy City Weekend Thursday at UIC
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - With the first two games of a four-game road trip in the books, Green Bay takes to the road again this week for the Chicago swing at UIC and Loyola. Green Bay faces UIC on Thursday night at 7 p.m. fresh off a 74-54 victory at Milwaukee last Friday night and with the memories of a Windy City sweep to close the 2011-12 regular season.
The game will also open the second half of the Horizon League schedule for the Phoenix, who sit in a tie for second place at 5-3. One of team's league wins was less than three weeks ago in Green Bay when the Phoenix clawed past UIC 53-47. In that contest on Jan. 12, junior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) scored a game-high 21 points and added eight rebounds and four blocks. UIC was led by Gary Talton's 11 points but the Flames were held to just 21 second-half points and 34 percent shooting in the game.
Both teams enter playing good basketball. Green Bay has won five of its past six games overall while UIC has won three of four contests since the loss at the Resch Center. The teams are led in scoring by their point guards - Green Bay's Keifer Sykes (15.3) and UIC's Talton (13.3).
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX: Fans will be able to catch Thursday night's Horizon League showdown at UIC live on Time Warner Cable's Sports32 and on the Horizon League Network. Chris Roth will handle the play-by-play duties for Sports32 while Phoenix Hall of Famer Jeff Nordgaard will be alongside as the color analyst.
The game will also be carried live by 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 UICFlames.com. You can also stay up-to-date by following @GBPhoenixMBB and @GBGavin on Twitter.
1. INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay's win on Jan. 12 was its 50th in the series history as the Phoenix has faced the Flames more than any other team in its history. The Phoenix owns a 50-35 all-time record and will be looking to even its record in Chicago at 20-20.
2. BROWN'S GRAND NIGHT: Brown sparked Green Bay's dominant second half last Friday, scoring 15 of his career-high 23 points. The 7-foot-1 big man surpassed the 1,000-career point mark in the process to become the 25th member of the program's 1,000-point club. On Monday, Brown was recognized for his strong play against Valpo and Milwaukee when he was named Horizon League Player of the Week (20.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 blocks per game).
3. SYKES IN THE CITY: Sykes, a Chicago native and a Marshall High School grad, was terrific in his last performance in his hometown. The 5-foot-11 guard scored 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting as Green Bay concluded the 2011-12 regular season with a 71-63 victory. He took over down the stretch, making the last six baskets for the Phoenix. Sykes also added seven assists in the contest against the Flames.
• WINDY CITY WINNING: In the past two seasons, Green Bay has experienced success against teams from Chicago. Led by Sykes, the Phoenix is 7-0 against Loyola (3-0), UIC (3-0) and Chicago State (1-0). Sykes scored a season-high 27 points at UIC in the teams' last meeting on Feb. 25, and the sophomore is averaging 14.1 points and 4.7 assists per game in the seven games against his hometown schools.
• FIRST-HALF DEFENSE: Green Bay sits in a tie for second place in the Horizon League standings through the first half of conference play. The Phoenix is in the position on the strength of its defense and rebounding. Through eight league games, Green Bay leads the conference in field goal percentage defense (.361), rebounding margin (+6.7) and blocked shots (5.6).
• STILL ON GUARD: In Green Bay's five league wins, the Phoenix has not allowed more than 58 points and has a scoring defense of 50.8. The team's victory margin is 15.0 and it has made twice as many free throws (86-43). Those five opponents are shooting just 33.6 percent from the field and are being outrebounded by 9.6 boards per game. In its three HL losses, Green Bay is allowing 73.7 points per game and 40.5 percent shooting. The Phoenix rebounding margin dips to just plus-2.0 and its opponents have made 36 more free throws.
• IMPACT FRESHMAN: Despite being limited to just 21 minutes, freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) totaled eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks at Milwaukee. It was another strong effort for the true freshman who is one of just three Phoenix players (Brown, Sykes) to start all 21 games. The 6-foot-7 Fouse leads all Horizon League newcomers in rebounds (2nd), blocks (t3rd) and steals (4th).
• RESERVE ROLES: Green Bay's bench has provided a solid lift in recent games, contributing double figures in six-straight games. Against Cleveland State, three Phoenix players combined for 31 points off the pine, and the reserves outscored the Milwaukee bench 21-0. Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) has reached double figures off the bench in six of eight Horizon League games, including four consecutive.
• FREE AND EASY: Green Bay is first in the Horizon League and its 75.3 percent from the line ranks 20th nationally. The Phoenix is 350-465 on the season and also ranks tied for 16th nationally in free throws made per game (16.7). Green Bay has made more free throws per game than any other Horizon League team. Sykes ranks ninth in the conference in free-throw percentage (.812) and among the league leaders in free throws made (95) and attempted (117). Brown ranks seventh in league play, shooting 85.7 percent (30-35), and is 67-90 overall. Junior Kam Cerroni (34-35) and Cougill (41-49) are both well over 80 percent.
Single-game tickets for 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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