By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Just three days after posting one of the top wins in recent program history, the Green Bay men’s basketball team will be challenged again with a road game at Eastern Michigan on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The contest against the Eagles will be Green Bay’s first true road game of the 2013-14 season.
On Saturday, Green Bay got a combined 45 points from Greg Mays (24) and Keifer Sykes (21) en route to a 75-72 win over visiting Virginia. Facing one of the nation’s top defenses, the Phoenix shot over 50 percent from field and made 7-of-14 three-pointers in the win. Sykes, who added 10 assists in the game, accounted for 16 of Green Bay’s 26 made field goals and on Monday was recognized as the Horizon League’s Player of the Week for the second-straight week and third time in 2013-14.
Eastern Michigan enters the game on a three-game losing streak, but like Green Bay has faced stiff competition. The team’s three losses are to Kentucky, Massachusetts and Purdue. Tuesday’s game will feature the nation’s #2 (Green Bay) and #3 (Eastern Michigan) shot-blocking teams.
GREEN BAY PROBABLE STARTERS
G – #24 Keifer Sykes, G, Jr., 5-11, 175
G – #10 Josh Humphrey, G, So., 6-5, 198
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: Fans can watch Tuesday’s game live and free on the MAC website. In addition, fans can listen live to a radio broadcast of the contest on WNFL 1440 AM or online at GreenBayPhoenix.com with Matt Menzl (play-by-play) and Andrew Gavin (analyst) on the call.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay and Eastern Michigan have met 10 times previously, including seven times since the Phoenix moved into the Division I ranks. With six wins in the past eight meetings, Green Bay leads the series 6-4.
SEEING 20/20: Against Virginia, Sykes accomplished something that not even Tony Bennett accomplished. He became the first Phoenix player in the Division I era and first since Joe Mauel in 1979-80 to scored 20-plus points in six-straight games (32, 21, 23, 26, 25, 21). During the streak, Sykes is averaging 24.7 points and 5.7 assists per game and is 45-of-49 from the free-throw line.
BUILDING BLOCKS: Green Bay blocked 26 shots at the Great Alaska Shootout, the second-most by a team in the tournament’s history. With at least nine blocks in five of seven games, Green Bay ranks second nationally blocking 8.3 shots per game. Of the program’s top-10 all-time single-game team block efforts, five have been recorded in 2013-14.
WINNING WEEKLY: With Sykes winning three times, Green Bay has won the past four Horizon League Player of the Week awards. Sykes won on Nov. 18, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, and senior Alec Brown took home the honor on Nov. 25. Green Bay is the first team in Horizon League history to win four-straight player of the week awards.
SYKES SEVEN: Sykes is the program’s all-time leader in Horizon League Player of the Week awards with seven. He notched one honor as a freshman, three as a sophomore and now three more as a junior. The seven weekly awards tied former Clevelend State standout and current Miami Heat guard Norris Cole for the fifth-most in conference history.
SELECT COMPANY: Averaging 22.6 points and 5.3 assists per game, Sykes is one of only three players in the nation averaging 20-plus points and five-plus assists per game (Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson and Arizona State’s Jahii Carson). Sykes leads the Horizon League in both points per game and assists per game.
QUICK GRAND: Sykes was honored prior to Saturday’s game for becoming the 26th member of the program’s 1,000-point club in the team’s 67-59 win over Tulsa on Nov. 30. Doing so in his 70th career game, Sykes became the third fastest player in the program’s Division I history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark (Tony Bennett - 56 games, Richard Sims - 68 games).
STREAKING SOPHOMORE: Sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) has opened the 2013-14 season by extending two impressive statistical streaks. The 6-foot-7 sophomore wing has blocked at least one shot in 30-straight games. The reigning rebounding champion in the Horizon League has also grabbed five or more boards in 26 consecutive games.
RECORD HEIST: Against Virginia, Fouse tallied eight steals to break the single-game program record. The eighth steal was possibly the play of the game. With Green Bay leading 71-69, Fouse stole a pass from Malcolm Brogdon and converted a layup for a four-point lead.
TOUGH LOSSES: Green Bay has dropped two games this season, losing to Wisconsin (10-0) and Harvard (9-1) teams that have combined for a 19-1 record to date. The Phoenix held second-half leads against both Wisconsin and Harvard. Entering Tuesday, Green Bay’s strength of schedule ranks seventh in the country.
MID-MAJOR POLL: Green Bay has moved up to No. 12 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll after ranking No. 14 and No. 15 in the past two weeks. Green Bay was No. 21 in the first three polls.
CAREER NIGHT: With two 12-point halves, junior Greg Mays had the best game of his career in the win over Virginia. Mays finished with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field and 7-of-10 from the free-throw line. The junior also made his second career three-pointer and grabbed five boards.
CONSISTENT EFFORTS: Mays has put together a nice start to his junior season, averaging 11.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Through seven games, Mays ranks fifth in the Horizon League in field goal percentage (55.6%) and tied for fifth in blocks per game (1.3).
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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