By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
CHICAGO, Ill. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – After a thrilling road win at Wright State on Friday night, Green Bay plays at UIC on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. with a chance to conclude its season-long four-game road trip with a perfect 4-0 record and post the program’s first 10-game winning streak since 1995-96. A victory in the Windy City would also keep the Phoenix perfect in Horizon League play heading into a stretch of four out of five games at home.
Friday night at Wright State, the Phoenix were sparked by the play of senior Alec Brown and seven dunks en route to a 79-69 victory. Including a stretch of 15 consecutive points in the first half, Brown finished with 24 points and moved past 1,500 points for his career. In the second half, Green Bay made 12-of-21 shots from the field, including six made dunks.
Chicago native Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) scored 14 of his 18 points after halftime on Friday and added seven assists and six rebounds. In conference action, the 5-foot-11 points guard is leading the league in defensive rebounds at 6.7 per game.
GREEN BAY PROBABLE STARTERS
G – #24 Keifer Sykes, G, Jr., 5-11, 175
G – #35 Vincent Garrett, G, Sr., 6-6, 220
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: Sunday afternoon’s game will be available live and in HD on the Horizon League Network. On WNFL 1440 AM, Matt Menzl (play-by-play) and Andrew Gavin (analyst) will bring fans the radio call.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay has faced UIC more than any other opponent in its program history, and the Phoenix holds a 51-36 lead in the all-time series. The Flames have won 21 of the 40 games in the all-time series, but Green Bay has taken five of the past seven meetings overall
WINNING WEEKLY: After averaging 27.5 points, 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds in wins at Chicago State and Milwaukee, Sykes was named the Horizon League Player of the Week on Monday for the second-straight week, league-record fifth time this season, and Green Bay record ninth time in his career. Detroit’s Rashad Phillips holds the all-time record with 10. Sykes and Brown have won a program-record seven weekly awards in 10 weeks this season.
SYKES SET APART: Sykes not only ranks among the leaders in numerous Horizon League categories, but the Phoenix point guard is the only player in the country averaging 20-plus points and five-plus assists while shooting 50 percent or higher from the field. His scoring average of 20.4 points ranks in a tie for 23rd nationally in points per game.
LAST SEASON’S MEETINGS: Green Bay and UIC met three times in 2012-13, with the Phoenix earning two victories. The finale of the matchups was a thrilling 64-63 win in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Championship. All three meetings were close, with Green Bay winning at home 53-47 and the Flames earning a 60-57 win at the Pavilion.
WINNING WAYS: During Green Bay’s nine-game winning streak, the Phoenix has posted a scoring margin of plus-19.7 with seven double-digit victories. The team’s top-four scorers during the streak - Alec Brown (20.6), Keifer Sykes (19.4), Greg Mays (10.9) and Jordan Fouse (8.4) - have combined to shoot 56.9 percent from the field (203-360). During the streak, Green Bay is shooting 51.8 percent as a team while holding opponents to 37.3 percent.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES: Green Bay enters Sunday’s game leading the Horizon League and ranked in a tie for 17th nationally in defensive field goal percentage (38.4%). Offensively, the Phoenix ranks first in the conference and 24th nationally in field goal percentage (.486). Green Bay has shot 55 percent or higher in five of the past six games, including a season-high 59.6 percent shooting on Friday night against defensive-minded Wright State.
BLOCK PARTY: Green Bay has blocked 131 shots in 17 games this season. The 131 blocks are the third-most in a single season in program history, behind only the school-record total of 162 last season and the . With an average 7.7 rejections per game, the Phoenix ranks second nationally in blocks per game behind only St. John’s (8.7).
BROWN’S BLOCKS: Brown is having the best season of his career, which includes blocks. Averaging 3.4 per game, the 7-foot-1 senior ranks 12th nationally. With 57 blocks in 2013-14, Brown is on pace to break his own school record of 89, set in 2011-12. Brown now owns each of the top-four spots on the program’s single-season blocks chart (57, 59, 67, 89).
RECORDS IN REACH: Brown will be chasing a couple of records as his senior season continues. With 272 career blocks, Brown needs 38 more to break the Horizon League record of 309 set last season by Youngstown State’s Damian Eargle. The 7-foot-1 senior also needs just 29 more rebounds to break the Green Bay Division I record of 766 set by Terry Evans. The senior has been the program’s career leader in blocks since his sophomore season.
MOVING ON UP: Brown, the lone player in Horizon League history with 1,500 points, 700 rebounds and 250 blocks, now ranks ninth in Green Bay history in scoring (1,501 points). Sykes, with 1,220 career points, moved into 16th place with 34 points at Milwaukee. Against the Panthers, the junior passed Joe Mauel, Ryan Evanochko and Matt Rohde.
NORTH OF NINETY: Including twice last week, Green Bay has scored 90 or more points five times this season. This year’s team is the first in the program’s Division I history to have reached 90 five times in a season. With a scoring average of 78.9 points, Green Bay is on pace to break the program’s Division I record for points per game. The team’s current average would be the highest in the program since 1971-72.
PHO SLAMMA JAMMA: In 2013-14, Green Bay has tallied 62 dunks through 17 games. Led by Greg Mays (23) and Keifer Sykes (17), the Phoenix has six different players with five or more dunks. Last season, Green Bay had 50 dunks in 34 contests.
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