FACTS & STATS: Site: Lawlor Events Center (11,536) -- Reno, Nevada. Television: None. Home Record: Green Bay 1-0, Nevada 1-0. Away Record: Green Bay 0-0, Nevada 0-1. Neutral Record: Green Bay 1-0, Nevada 0-0. Conference Record: Green Bay 0-0, Nevada 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Green Bay Phoenix try to remain unbeaten as they square off with the Nevada Wolf Pack in the World Vision Classic at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
The Phoenix easily pushed past Southern Utah for a 66-54 victory in their opening game of this event on Friday. Green Bay held the Thunderbirds to only eight field goals in the opening half, and shot 40 percent after the break to improve to 2-0 overall. Green Bay is not filled with sharpshooters, but it showed its ability to overpower opponents by outscoring the T-Birds 38-20 in the paint and by holding a 51-40 advantage in the rebounding battle.
Nevada had a much more competitive matchup on Friday as it needed to overcome a 12-point, first-half deficit to take down Cal State Fullerton, 80-77, in a thriller for its first win of the season. Deonte Burton was the hero of the bout as his old-fashioned three-point play put Nevada ahead by one point with 14 seconds left to play. He then blocked a shot by Fullerton's D.J. Seeley to seal the deal. Now with a 1-1 overall record, the tournament hosting Wolf Pack will try to make it two in a row. Fourth-year head coach David Carter enters Saturday;s matchup with a 63-40 record at Nevada.
This will be the first encounter on the hardwood between these two teams.
Green Bay's success is primarily based on the play of star center Alec Brown, who recorded a double-double consisting of 17 points and 13 rebounds his last time out. The 7-foot-1, 225-pound center is not only adept at scoring inside and rebounding, but he also uses his incredible wing span to block and alter plenty of shots. Although Brown's size is impressive on its own, the Green Bay front line gets even tougher for opponents when he teams up with Brennan Cougill. The 6-foot-9, 265-pound bruising power forward produced a double- double of his own with 17 points and 10 boards on Friday. Keifer Sykes added 13 points and four assists, while Carrington Love came off the bench to score 11 points.
Nevada has a much different makeup than Green Bay as it relies on steady guard play for much of its success. The duo of Deonte Burton and Malik Story has been very productive since arriving in Reno. Entering Saturday's contest, Story and Burton have 984 and 981 career points, respectively, after starting all 69 games of their careers to this point. Burton's heroics on Friday produced a game-high 19 points, but Story had a quiet 2-of-6 shooting performance for just five points. Junior forward Kevin Panzer picked up the slack by making 60 percent of his field goal attempts, including 2-of-3 from three-point range, to net a career-high 18 points. The Wolf Pack's future looks bright as well with freshman Cole Huff in the mix for the next four seasons. Huff came off the bench to score 11 points and pull down a game-high nine rebounds in the most recent outing.
While Nevada showed its heart on Friday, it will take talent and toughness to outduel the Phoenix. Brown is going to make a name for himself as one of the best mid-major players in the country this season. The Wolf Pack need a more noticeable performance out of Story to pick up their second win in a row.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Green Bay 66, Nevada 61
11/17 10:32:53 ET
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