By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – A furious run by Oakland (7-14, 2-4 HL) put Green Bay (16-3, 6-0 HL) in a 54-49 hole midway through the second half on Wednesday night at the Resch Center, but Phoenix guards Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) and Carrington Love (Milwaukee, Wis.) combined for 25 points in the final 10 minutes to lead Green Bay to an 83-69 victory in Horizon League men’s basketball action.
The heroics of Sykes and Love secured Green Bay’s 11th-straight victory overall and kept the Phoenix unbeaten in conference play. Sykes, who is averaging 15.8 points in the second halves of six Horizon League action, totaled 18 of his 27 points in the final 10 minutes on Wednesday and added eight rebounds and six assists. Love scored seven points down the stretch and finished with a career-high 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting from both the field and the foul line.
Green Bay led by as many as nine in the opening half and went into intermission with a 37-30 lead. Eight different Phoenix players scored during the first half, led by senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) with eight of his 15 points on the night.
Oakland, the newcomer to the Horizon League, still trailed 44-36 before the Golden Grizzlies used an 18-5 spurt to claim a 54-49 lead with 10:12 remaining. Sykes scored on back-to-back drives before Brown drained a triple to knot the score at 56 at the 8:12 mark. After a steal from sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.), Sykes scored and was fouled to put the Phoenix up for good at the under-8 media timeout.
The Green Bay lead was 62-61 at the 4:50 mark before Sykes scored the first seven points of a 21-8 game-closing run. Sykes and Love scored 19 of the Phoenix points during the final 4:11. In the second half, the guards combined for 30 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
Love and Fouse were also a big part of the defensive effort that slowed Oakland sharpshooter Travis Bader, who entered the contest 15 threes shy of breaking J.J. Redick’s NCAA record for career three-pointers. Bader was held to just eight points on 2-of-13 shooting including 2-of-11 from long range. Fouse had another stat-filled night by tallying eight points, seven assists, four rebounds, three steals and a block in 38 minutes.
Green Bay made 14-of-25 from the field in the second half to shoot 50 percent for the night while holding the Golden Grizzlies to 39.7 percent (25-63). The Phoenix made nine of its last 10 free throws to finish 23-of-34 from the line.
The Phoenix returns to its home floor on Sunday afternoon, hosting Detroit at 1 p.m. at the Resch Center. The contest is a Festival Foods Family Game featuring discounted tickets and concessions prices as well as a youth jersey courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board to the first 1,000 youth fans.
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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