By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Visiting Green Bay (13-3, 3-0 HL) found itself down seven points with 3:39 to play on Sunday afternoon at Milwaukee, and its seven-game winning streak was in jeopardy. Junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) refused to let the Phoenix drop its first Horizon League game of 2013-14.
The 5-foot-11 point guard scored seven points down the stretch, including a game-tying layup with 43 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Sykes finished with a career-high 34 points and the Phoenix controlled the overtime session en route to a 93-86 win at Milwaukee (12-6, 2-2 HL).
Sykes was just 4-of-14 from the field early in the second half as Milwaukee scored the first eight points after halftime and turned a 42-38 deficit into a 50-44 lead at the 15:50 mark. The Chicago native scored 10 points in the next two minutes as the Phoenix closed the deficit to two (56-54).
After his slow start, Sykes made nine of his next 12 shots from the field. The junior played 43 minutes without committing a turnover, and finished with 34 points on 13-of-28 shooting and eight rebounds and five assists.
In 80 career games, Sykes has scored 1,202 points. On Sunday, he moved past Joe Mauel, Ryan Evanochko and Matt Rohde into 16th place on Green Bay's all-time scoring list.
Milwaukee scored the next seven points to increase its lead, and Panther guard Jordan Aaron scored 15 of his team-high 26 points in the next seven minutes as the hosts’ lead reached as many as nine points.
The Phoenix trailed by seven (79-72) with 3:29 to play, but Sykes and Brown made back-to-back three-pointers to close the margin to 79-78 at the 2:18 mark. After a Milwaukee triple, Sykes scored on two-straight possessions in the final 1:30 to tie the game. The Panthers turned it over on their final possession, and senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) missed a jumper at the buzzer.
In the overtime session, junior Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) and Brown made the first two baskets for the Phoenix, and Brown made a running hook in the lane for an 88-84 lead with 46 seconds remaining. Milwaukee had an empty possession, and Sykes made two free throws on the other end.
Despite missing significant time due to foul trouble, Brown finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) collected 11 points, nine rebounds and a career-high seven assists in 41 minutes, and Mays added 11 points.
Fouse had eight offensive rebounds and Brown seven as the Phoenix grabbed 23 offensive boards. Green Bay held a 45-35 edge on the glass and had 16 assists compared to just 11 turnovers.
Green Bay will continue its four-game road trip next weekend, playing at Wright State on Friday at 6 p.m. and at UIC on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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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