Youngstown State (9-7) at Green Bay (8-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 17, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Resch Center (9,729) -- Green Bay, Wisconsin. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: YSU 4-2, Green Bay 7-1. Away Record: YSU 5-3, Green Bay 0-7. Neutral Record: YSU 0-2, Green Bay 1-1. Conference Record: YSU 1-2, Green Bay 2-2. Series Record: Green Bay leads, 24-8.
GAME NOTES: Green Bay tries to make it three in a row on Thursday night as the Phoenix tangle with the Youngstown State Penguins in Horizon League action at the Resch Center.
Since losing back-to-back games against Wright State and Detroit to open league play earlier this month, Green Bay has bounced back with consecutive victories against Loyola-Chicago (58-45) and, last Saturday, Illinois-Chicago (53-47), as it flexed its defensive muscles.
As for the Penguins, they too lost to the Titans of Detroit, but in their case it wasn't even close as they took a massive tumble in a 101-60 decision last week. The defeat was the second in the last three outings for YSU, which is now 1-2 in conference play as a result.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools, Green Bay is in control with 24 wins in 32 matchups. YSU has won two of the last three battles, but when it comes to playing in Green Bay, the Phoenix are a near- perfect 15-1.
Youngstown State was in no shape to keep up with Detroit at either end of the floor last week, as the Penguins shot only 37.0 percent from the field and 2- of-14 beyond the arc, while the Titans lit up the scoreboard with 53.2 percent accuracy from the floor and 11-of-21 out on the perimeter. DJ Cole ended up being the leading scorer for the hosts with 16 points off the bench, while Damian Eargle dropped in another 14 and pulled down seven boards, but still YSU was thumped on the glass, 46-31. Kendrick Perry, the team's leading scorer with 16.0 ppg, was held to just nine points. Active all over the court, Perry is also responsible this season for a team-best 70 assists and 24 steals, not to mention coming up with close to five rebounds per game. Eargle (12.4 ppg) assumes the top spot on the glass with almost seven rebounds per outing, but for someone who has their hands on the ball so much, Eargle really needs to work on his free-throw shooting which is coming in at under 59 percent.
Green Bay shot just 36.2 percent from the floor last weekend, including 3- of-14 behind the 3-point line, and yet the team came out on top because the Flames were just as bad with their 34.0 percent effort from the field and 7- of-22 beyond the arc. It also helped that the Phoenix outscored the visitors at the free-throw line, 16-8. Alec Brown was the lone double-digit scorer for the hosts with 21 points, adding eight rebounds and four blocked shots for good measure. Keifer Sykes accounted for seven points, seven rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals. The point production by Sykes was far below his season average of 15.6 ppg, but he is also the key figure when it comes to spreading the ball around, which is why he is first on the unit with 70 assists. Brown (11.9 ppg) is the leading rebounder (6.8 rpg) and has 23 blocks, yet for someone who spends so much time in the paint, it is puzzling why he is shooting just 39.2 percent from the field.
After being beaten up by Detroit the Penguins would probably like to keep the pace of this game down to a crawl, although that fits Green Bay perfectly and should work in favor of the Phoenix.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Green Bay 59, Youngstown State 55
01/17 10:33:03 ET