By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The phrase “Home Sweet Home” has held true for Green Bay in 2013-14, and the Phoenix hopes it continues to on Saturday as it hosts Milwaukee at 1 p.m. and aims for a 12th-straight home victory. A win against the in-state rival Panthers would be the 13th home victory of the season, matching the most in Resch Center history.
The Festival Foods Family Game will feature discounted tickets with pricing starting at just $9 for adults and $7 for youth. There will also be $1 hot dogs and $1 small sodas throughout the contest. The first 2,500 fans on Saturday will receive a free rally towel courtesy of BMO Harris.
On Wednesday, Green Bay got 20 points and three blocked shots from senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) and 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists from junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) to down visiting UIC 81-70. The Phoenix had three players with nine or rebounds and controlled the glass, 41-32.
Sykes (34) and Brown (19) combined for 53 points when Green Bay rallied for a 93-86 overtime victory at Milwaukee on Jan. 12. The Phoenix trailed by seven points with 3:29 to play before Sykes scored seven points down the stretch to force overtime. Brown totaled four in overtime to seal the win.
Milwaukee has won two-straight games to even its Horizon League record at 5-5, posting home victories against Wright State (68-64) and Oakland (86-64).
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 unable to attend Saturday afternoon’s game, the contest will be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and will be available on the Horizon League Network and ESPN3. Jim Barbar will handle the play-by-play duties and David Kaplan will be the analyst.
On WNFL 1440 AM, Matt Menzl (play-by-play) and Cordero Barkley (analyst) will bring fans a radio broadcast of the game. Due to the women’s basketball game at UIC at 3 p.m., the radio broadcast will not include a postgame show.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay holds a 30-21 record against Milwaukee in the all-time series. The Phoenix has won 18 of 25 games played in Green Bay, including two wins last season. Green Bay has four-straight wins in the series, including this season’s win.
BLOCK PARTY: With 11 blocks against UIC, Green Bay broke the single-season program record for the fourth consecutive season. The Phoenix has 172 blocks this season, just 10 shy of the Horizon League record. Of the top-14 single-game block efforts in Green Bay history, 13 have occurred during Brown’s four years in the program. Brown has 287 career blocks, just 23 shy of the conference record.
CHARITY WORK: As a sophomore, Sykes broke the Phoenix program record for free throws made in a season (159). After knocking down 10 or more in three of the past four games, Sykes has made 139 free throws in 2013-14, good for sixth most by a Phoenix player. The Horizon League’s top scorer leads the conference and is 15th nationally in free throws made.
FIRST MEETING: Sykes scored 21 points in the second half and played 43 turnover-free minutes in helping Green Bay rally at Milwaukee and post a 93-86 overtime win. Sykes finished with a career-high 34 points for the Phoenix, who overcame 26 points from Jordan Aaron and 10 Panther three-pointers. Brown added 19 points, including four in the overtime as Green Bay outscored the hosts 11-4.
BOARDWORK: Against UIC, Green Bay displayed the type of outing on the backboards that made the Phoenix the league’s best rebounding team a season ago. Getting nine or more rebounds from three different players, the Phoenix outrebounded the Flames 41-32. In conference play, Sykes paces the Phoenix and is tied for sixth in the HL with 6.5 rebounds per game. Junior Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) is adding 6.3 rebounds and sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) grabs 6.1.
A-MAYS-ING: Mays continued his junior season with two great games to start the current homestand. Mays made 9-of-10 shots from the field and scored 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half against Wright State. He then posted nine points, nine rebounds and a career-high three blocks against UIC. On the year, Mays is averaging career highs in points (10.6), rebounds (5.5), blocks (1.1) and field goal percentage (.581).
SYKES SET APART: Ranking 20th nationally in points per game, Sykes is one of just two players (Lafayette’s Elfrid Payton) nationally averaging 20-plus points, five-plus assists and four-plus rebounds per game. The junior had 18 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and seven helpers in Wednesday’s win over UIC.
MOVING ON UP: Brown now ranks eighth in Green Bay history in scoring (1,572 points). Sykes has scored 1,345 career points in 87 games and needs 15 points to pass B.J. LaRue into 12th place in program history.
BROWN’S BLOCKS: Brown is having the best season of his career, which includes blocks. Averaging 3.3 per game, the 7-foot-1 senior is 11th nationally. With 72 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 (59, 67, 72, 89).
A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN: Brown is in the midst of the most impressive season and most impressive stretch of his standout career. The 7-foot-1 center is posting career-high numbers in points, field goal percentage and blocked shots. Against Detroit on Jan. 26, Brown became the only player in program or Horizon League history to tally 1,500-plus points (1572), 750 rebounds (760) and 250 blocked shots (284).
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.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.
Follow us on Twitter: @GBPhoenix, @GBPhoenixMBB and @GBGavin.
Like Green Bay Phoenix Athletics on Facebook.