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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 29, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) -- Valparaiso, Indiana. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Green Bay 10-1, Valpo 8-3. Away Record: Green Bay 5-1, Valpo 3-7. Neutral Record: Green Bay 2-1, Valpo 1-0. Conference Record: Green Bay 7-0, Valpo 4-3. Series Record: Green Bay leads, 26-19.
GAME NOTES: Enjoying their longest winning streak in nearly two decades, the Green Bay Phoenix take to the hardwood tonight to try and extend their run to 13 in a row versus the Crusaders of Valparaiso in Horizon League action.
All alone atop the league standings with a mark of 7-0, Green Bay has not lost since bowing to Eastern Michigan (67-58) back on Dec. 10. On Sunday, the program dismissed Detroit at home by a final of 62-52, which means the squad has posted nine victories during this run by double figures.
Meanwhile, the Crusaders are hovering just above .500 in conference play at 4-3. The squad was rolling along with three straight victories before Cleveland State took them down in a lopsided 69-50 final on the road Saturday.
Green Bay leads the all-time series by a count of 26-19, although the Crusaders have won the last three meetings played at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
The Phoenix had a truly awful shooting performance on Sunday as they converted just 28.3 percent from the floor, including 2-of-14 behind the 3-point line, but thanks to forcing 16 turnovers and outscoring Detroit by a 34-14 margin at the free-throw line. Keifer Sykes, who was named the Horizon League Player of the Week for the sixth time this season on Monday, managed to produce 22 points as he converted all but one of his 12 free-throw attempts, compensating for his 5-of-17 showing from the floor. Greg Mays produced a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Carrington Love with 10 points.
The shooting effort by Green Bay over the weekend was by far its weakest of the season. In fact, only twice previously has the squad come in under 40 percent. Despite the poor effort, the Phoenix are still hitting their shots at a 47.9 percent clip, en route to 77.8 ppg, which is far better than the competition which has knocked down 38.3 percent for 64.8 ppg. In conference games, Sykes is posting 23.0 ppg and has also pulled down 6.9 rpg and handed out 33 assists, which means he is leading the program in all three categories at the moment.
The Cleveland State defense shut down the Crusaders in a big way over the weekend, holding the visitors to only 16 total field goals and forcing them into the same number of turnovers. LaVonte Dority and Alec Peters both finished with 10 points, combining for 7-of-15 shooting from the floor, but the other three starters hit a collective 2-of-13, with Jubril Adekoya coming up empty on seven tries.
As the two players who have started every game for the Crusaders thus far, it only makes sense that Dority and Peters are also the lone double-digit scorers for the group as well with 16.2 and 12.2 ppg, respectively. The pair has combined to make good on 85 3-point shots, which means the rest of the roster has knocked down just 77 triples in those 22 contests.
Even though Valpo is at home tonight, where it has an 8-3 mark, the Phoenix just have the feeling that even when they play poorly that perform well enough to win. Expect the principle players for Green Bay to again take over when the team needs it most.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Green Bay 69, Valparaiso 58
01/29 10:35:59 ET
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