Cleveland State (8-6) at Green Bay (9-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Resch Center (9,729) -- Green Bay, Wisconsin. Television: TWC Sports. Home Record: CSU 6-1, Green Bay 6-1. Away Record: CSU 2-5, Green Bay 1-1. Neutral Record: CSU 0-0, Green Bay 2-1. Conference Record: CSU 0-0, Green Bay 0-0. Series Record: Green Bay leads, 39-27.
GAME NOTES: Sporting the best winning percentage in the Horizon League, the Green Bay Phoenix tip off their league slate tonight when they host the Cleveland State Vikings at the Resch Center.
Winners of nine of their first 12 games of the season, the Phoenix are currently enjoying a four-game win streak and have captured six of the last seven overall. The latest victory for Green Bay was a 91-41 thrashing of St. Francis last Saturday, moving the team to 6-1 at home heading into 2014.
As for the Vikings, they've won two in a row and four of the last five games, but two of those victories have come against programs outside of Division I. After thumping LaRoche at home on Dec. 23 by a score of 89-42, CSU stepped back up to the D-I level with a 78-70 victory versus Kent State on the road last Saturday.
Green Bay, which won the last meeting with the Vikings by a score of 66-59 on the road in the middle of February last season, owns a 39-27 advantage in the all-time series.
The Vikings spread the wealth against Kent State, as five players scored in double figures, led by Bryn Forbes and Sebastian Douglas with 14 points apiece, the latter getting the job done with a perfect 5-of-5 shooting performance from the floor. Anton Grady and Trey Lewis both pitched in with 12 points and Marlin Mason had 10 in the triumph.
Forbes currently leads the Vikings in scoring with his 17.6 ppg, thanks to his 88.1 percent accuracy at the free-throw line, followed by Lewis who accounts for 13.8 ppg. Between the pair they combine for a considerable portion of the team's 76.6 ppg, and have produced 59 of CSU's 98 made 3-pointers. Because of them, the team overall is shooting 39.0 percent out on the perimeter, compared to 30.0 percent for the competition.
Green Bay scored the first points of the game against St. Francis and never looked back last weekend, holding the visitors to just six field goals in the second half and 26.7 percent accuracy overall. The Phoenix, who shot 11-of-20 behind the 3-point line, were led by Vince Garrett with his 20 points and nine rebounds, followed by Keifer Sykes with 17 points and eight assists. Carrington Love and Alec Brown both tallied 13 points, the latter adding seven rebounds and six blocked shots for good measure.
Entering play today, the Phoenix are leading the league in 3-point shooting at 39.7 percent, and at the defensive end of the floor they are second in the nation in blocked shots with 8.1 per contest. With 97 blocks through 12 games, already Green Bay has a total that ranks as the sixth-most in single-season history. Brown (15.3 ppg) is a beast in the paint with both 42 rejections and 6.5 rpg, while Sykes leads the group in scoring with 19.5 ppg.
Brown can be an intimidating force down low for Green Bay and, when coupled with Sykes in the scoring department, he can be nearly impossible for opponents to try and slow down.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Green Bay 77, Cleveland State 73
01/02 10:32:56 ET