By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay men’s basketball team (1-1) will play in front of its home crowd for the third Saturday in a row when it hosts Minnesota Duluth (2-1) at the Resch Center on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Phoenix will look to bounce back after an entertaining but tough 69-66 loss to No. 20/19 Wisconsin last Saturday in a game in which Green Bay led by seven points in the second half.
Junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) was sensational against the Badgers, scoring 16 in both halves en route to a career-high 32 points. The third 30-point effort of the Chicago native’s career earned him Horizon League Player of the Week accolades for the fifth time.
Led by sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.), Green Bay had its second strong effort on the glass and with blocking shots. The Phoenix outrebounded the Badgers 40-35 behind 12 boards from Fouse. The 6-foot-7 Fouse also blocked three shots as Green Bay swatted nine shots for the second consecutive game. With 55 blocks in his first 36 games, Fouse already sits in ninth place on the program’s all-time blocks list.
GREEN BAY PROBABLE STARTERS
G – #24 Keifer Sykes, G, Jr., 5-11, 175
G – #12 Carrington Love, G, So., 6-1, 171
F – #4 Jordan Fouse, F, So., 6-7, 225
F – #15 Greg Mays, F, Jr., 6-9, 222
C – #21 Alec Brown, C, Sr., 7-1, 235
LIVE COVERAGE: For fans who are unable to attend Saturday’s game, the contest will be available on the Horizon League Network (live video) and WNFL 1440 AM (live audio) with Matt Menzl (play-by-play) and Cordero Barkley (color analyst) on the call.*
*Due to a conflict with the women's basketball game, the audio broadcast of the game will be tape delayed on WNFL but live on GreenBayPhoenix.com.
INSIDE THE SERIES: The Phoenix holds a 5-0 record all-time against Minnesota Duluth, with four of the five contests being played in Green Bay and the other on a neutral floor. Three of the five games in the series have been decided by 10 or more points.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Minnesota Duluth features a balanced offensive attack with four players averaging in double figures through three games. The Bulldogs have been led by Peter Crawford, who is shooting an incredible 85.7 percent from the field (12-14) and is averaging 12.3 points per game. Kristofer Jackson, a 6-foot-5 junior, is averaging 11 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. The Bulldogs are shooting 47.1 percent from the field but have struggled from long range, shooting just 29.2 percent through three games. Green Bay should have an advantage on the glass, with Minnesota Duluth entering with a -2.7 rebounding margin.
BROKEN RECORD: Green Bay and Wisconsin played in front of a program record 9,906 fans last Saturday night. The sellout crowd marked the fourth time that a Phoenix men’s basketball team had played in front of 9,000-plus fans at home.
GOOD MEMORIES: This Saturday’s game will bring back memories for Brian Wardle and Alec Brown. On Nov. 13, 2010, Wardle led the Phoenix to a 75-36 victory over Minnesota Duluth in his first game as a college head coach. The 7-foot-1 Brown also made his collegiate debut that Saturday afternoon. In 18 minutes of action, Brown totaled seven points, six rebounds and six blocked shots. In the 97 games he has played in since, the Winona, Minn., native has scored 1223 points, grabbed 632 rebounds and blocked 213 shots.
WINNING WEEKLY: The fifth career Horizon League Player of the Week honor for Sykes ties him for the most in Green Bay history with Jeff Nordgaard. He also ranks tied for 12th in conference history, with former Detroit star Rashad Phillips holding the record with 10. The point guard won the award once as a freshman and three times as a sophomore in 2012-13.
CAREER NIGHT: Keifer Sykes totaled 30 or more points for the third time in his career with a career-high 32 against No. 20/19 Wisconsin. Sykes has now reached 30 or more points in two of his past four games. He has 12 20-point games and has reached double figures in 13 consecutive games and 30 of his past 32 contests. The point guard also set career highs for field goals made (13) and attempted (26).
CLOSE TO A CENTURY: With 916 career points, Sykes is closing in on becoming the program’s 26th member of the 1,000-point club. He is on pace to reach the 1,000 points faster than all but two players in the program’s Division I history - Tony Bennett (56 games) and Richard Sims (68). Only five players in program history at any level have scored more points through 66 games than Sykes. Transfer Ray Willis (1969-71) was the fastest player to reach 1,000 points, doing so as a junior and senior in a remarkable 39 games.
STREAKING SOPHOMORE: Fouse opened the 2013-14 by extending two impressive statistical streaks. The 6-foot-7 sophomore wing has blocked at least one shot in 25-straight games after swatting three in each of the first two games. The reigning rebounding champion has also grabbed five or more boards in 21 consecutive games. Fouse is leading the Horizon League in both rebounding (11.0/game) and blocked shots (3.0/game).
SPACED START: Green Bay has played only twice through the first 15 days of the season, tied for the fewest for any team in the country. Only three teams (North Dakota, Weber State, Denver) will wait longer before playing their third game. The Phoenix was slated to play twice on opening weekend before the HBCU Tip-Off Championship was cancelled.
GARRETT’S GOOD START: Senior transfer Vincent Garrett (Chicago, Ill.) is off to a good start in his first season with the Phoenix. The 6-foot-6 guard scored a team-high 15 points in the opener, and on Saturday against Wisconsin, Garrett scored eight points and added eight rebounds. Garrett has scored 17 of his 23 points this season in the second half.
All tickets for the 2013-14 men’s basketball season are on sale now. For more information about season tickets, ticket packages and more, please visit the ticketing page at GreenBayPhoenix.com.
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