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By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GreenBayPhoenix.com

VALPARAISO, Ind. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Visiting Green Bay (10-10, 4-3 HL) fell behind early and despite a comeback which cut a 16-point deficit to just three at halftime, the Phoenix could not rally past league-leading Valparaiso (16-5, 6-1 HL) in a 73-61 loss at the Athletics and Recreation Center on Wednesday night.

Junior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) scored a team-high 18 points in the defeat, but a third foul early in the second half limited his minutes. The 7-foot-1 junior had 14 of his 18 points in the opening half and added six rebounds and two blocked shots. With 92 points in five games against Valparaiso, Brown has now scored 981 career points.

Sophomore Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half and senior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa) also reached double figures with 12.

Green Bay fell behind by 9-2 early, and the Crusaders had extended their lead to 16 (28-12) with 8:05 left in the first half. With Brown and Sykes combining for 16, the Phoenix went on an 18-3 run to cut the Valpo lead to just one (30-29) with 1:38 left before halftime. The Crusaders went to halftime leading 34-31.

In the second half, The Phoenix was undone by Valparaiso's ability to get to the foul line and convert its opportunities. Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Ryan Broekhoff was held to just 2-of-7 shooting from the field but knocked down 14-of-15 at the foul line to score a game-high 19 points as Valpo made 27-of-33 at the charity stripe, including 19-of-22 in the final 20 minutes.

Broekhoff converted an impressive three-point play for his first field goal at the 7:04 mark, and Matt Kenney drained a three-pointer to give Valpo a 10-point edge (58-48) with 6:17 remaining. Again, Green Bay responded.

Sparked by five-straight points from junior Daniel Turner (McCordsville, Ind.), Green Bay went on a 10-3 capped by a tip-in from freshman Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.). Fouse's bucket made it 61-58 with 2:04 to play.

Broekhoff responded for Valpo again, hitting a step back three-pointer on the next possession and Valpo finished the game on a 12-3 run.

In a matchup of the league's top two rebounding teams, Green Bay outrebounded Valparaiso 33-31 behind nine rebounds from Fouse.  

Green Bay continues its four-game road trip on Friday night at Milwaukee at 8 p.m. in a game televised by ESPNU.

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