GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – With one 7-foot-1 exception, the Green Bay men’s basketball team carried over momentum from 2012-13 in a number of ways on its trip to the Bahamas.
The Horizon League leader in defense and rebounding a season ago held its three opponents to just 32.4 percent shooting and posted a plus-11.7 rebounding margin.
First-team All-Horizon League point guard Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill) averaged 24 points and six assists per game.
Junior Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) had a team-best eight dunks.
Despite all-conference big man Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) sitting out all three games with a sprained ankle, head coach Brian Wardle’s team used its defense, rebounding and athleticism to post an undefeated 3-0 record on its foreign tour.
Wardle’s primary goal for the team during the foreign tour was improving off the court, and the Phoenix was able to grow closer together and build team chemistry. On the team’s off day on Wednesday, the players and staff was able to go on a snorkeling trip in the Atlantic Ocean. To see pictures from the trip, click here.
SYKES STATS: Sykes picked up where he left off a season ago, when he averaged 15.9 points per game. The 5-foot-11 guard scored 20 or more points in all three Bahamas contests, including 26 each in the final two wins to average 24 points per game. Scoring was not the only area where Sykes was stuffing the stat sheet, however, as the explosive guard also averaged 6.3 steals, 6.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. In Tuesday’s win, Sykes had 26 points and nine assists. On Thursday, he made 15-of-18 free throws and the eventual game-winning shot en route to 26 points and nine steals.
MAYDAY: As impressive as Sykes was on the trip, Mays may have been the most consistent Phoenix player. The junior started the week with 19 points and 10 rebounds in a win over the Bahamas All-Stars. Mays then had 12 points and nine rebounds on 5-of-7 shooting against the Cybots on Tuesday. He finished the week with two early dunks and nine points and nine rebounds against the Real Deal Shockers. Leading the team in minutes, his consistency led to averages of 13.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Mays also shot 51.7 percent and grabbed 13 of his 28 rebounds on the offensive end.
HUMPDAY RETURNS: Wednesday was an off day on the trip, but Josh Humphrey returned for the Phoenix after missing all of 2012-13 with a knee injury that required microfracture surgery. The sophomore had 10 rebounds in the opener, knocked down two three-pointers on Tuesday and finished the week averaging 3.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
LONG WAIT ENDS FOR AMAC: Junior Alfonzo McKinnie (Chicago, Ill.) sat out in 2012-13 after transferring from Eastern Illinois. The 6-foot-8 forward showed in the Bahamas that he was well worth the wait. Despite playing a team-low 14 minutes per game, McKinnie was third on the team in scoring (10.7) and tied Mays with a team-best 9.3 rebounds per contest. Playing a variety of positions, the versatile McKinnie shot 54.5 percent from the field (12-22), 66.7 percent from long range (2-3) and 85.7 percent from the charity stripe (6-7).
TRANSFER POWER: McKinnie was not the only transfer showing he can help Green Bay in 2013-14. Senior Vincent Garrett (Chicago, Ill.), a Rutgers transfer who was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA, averaged 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in just 16.7 minutes per game. Garrett showed ability to score from inside and out, and his 12-point, 11-rebound effort on Thursday helped the Phoenix rally for the win.
FLYING PHOENIX: With an incredible 23 in three games, Green Bay recorded 26.7 percent of its made field goals via dunks. With Mays leading the way with eight, the Phoenix had six different players record at least one dunk on the trip. McKinnie and Garrett each totaled five dunks in three games.
BAHAMAS BOARDWORK: The top rebounding team in the Horizon League a season ago, Green Bay was strong on the glass in the Bahamas. Five different players had 10 or more rebounds in at least one game, and three players – McKinnie, Mays and Garrett – had double-doubles on the trip.
THE PHOENIX ADJUSTS TO FIBA: Green Bay adjusted to a variety of rules differences on its trip to the Bahamas. The three contests were played under the rules of the International Basketball Federation, or FIBA. Some of the major rules that the Phoenix players adjusted to included: four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves; a 24-second shot clock versus a 35-second shot clock; and a three-point distance of 22’1.7” instead of 20’9”. The way FIBA referees call traveling was also an adjustment, as FIBA rules dictate a player holding the ball from a stationary stance and begins dribbling must dribble the ball before moving his feet.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.