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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 15, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Resch Center (9,729) -- Green Bay, Wisconsin. Television: None. Home Record: SIU 2-0, Green Bay 2-0. Away Record: SIU 2-2, Green Bay 0-5. Neutral Record: SIU 0-0, Green Bay 1-1. Conference Record: SIU 0-0, Green Bay 0-0. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: Winners of both of their home games thus far in 2012-13, the Green Bay Phoenix try to again defend their floor on Saturday night, as they welcome the Southern Illinois Salukis to the Resch Center for a non-conference showdown.
The good news for Green Bay is that this meeting kicks off a four-game homestand and is the first of what will be eight home dates for the Phoenix over the next 10 games on the schedule. The team was most recently in action on Wednesday when it bowed to Wisconsin in Madison by a final of 65-54. The defeat was the third in a row, and the sixth in the last seven outings for the group.
As for the Salukis, they've begun the season with four wins in six chances, but the most recent outing for the program came 10 days ago and resulted in a narrow 58-57 loss to Western Kentucky on the road. The setback was the second in three games for an SIU squad that had an easy slate early on with wins over New Orleans, Benedictine-Springfield and SIU-Edwardsville.
The Salukis have won three of the previous four meetings in this series, the lone win for Green Bay coming in the 1990 NIT. The most recent matchup came two years ago when SIU needed a late layup to pull off a 61-60 decision at SIU Arena.
Against the Hilltoppers more than a week ago, Southern Illinois shot just 5- of-17 behind the three-point line and 6-of-13 at the charity stripe, which meant the squad could have easily picked up the win with just some added focus at the line. Desmar Jackson was the top scorer for the game with 22 points for the Salukis, but the only player on the team to reach double figures. Another trouble aspect of the game for SIU was that the reserves responded with a mere two points on a combined 1-of-11 shooting from the floor. The fact that the Salukis outscored the first three opponents by a combined 71 points has gone a long way in boosting their overall stats which shows them outscoring the opposition overall by 11.5 ppg. Jackson is generating 15.0 ppg, trailing only Jeff Early who has put up 16.5 points and a team-best 8.5 rebounds per contest. Shooting only 63.4 percent at the stripe over six games, the Salukis are making an average of less than 10 shots at the line per game.
Green Bay managed to remain close through 20 minutes of action at the Kohl Center against Wisconsin, but the team could not keep up with the Badgers following the break as the hosts made good on 56.0 percent from the floor. Keifer Sykes was the top scorer for the Phoenix with his 14 points, shooting 7-of-18 from the floor, while Brennan Cougill produced a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for a squad that shot only 3-of-12 behind the three-point line. Three-point shooting has been a problem for Green Bay this season, the team making a mere 27.8 percent from long range which is a far cry from the competition which has knocked down 39.4 percent out on the perimeter. Sykes accounts for 15.8 ppg and Cougill another 12.7 ppg, the pair combining for 49 of the unit's 107 assists, but the latter has been bringing the entire down with his awful three-point shooting (.195) through nine games.
If Green Bay can somehow find a way to be relevant out on the perimeter, perhaps it can get back into the win column this weekend. Otherwise, it could be a lost cause.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Illinois 65, Green Bay 59
12/15 10:31:43 ET
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