The loss snaps Green Bay’s 12-game winning streak which spanned 50 days dating back to Dec. 10, 2013. It is also the first road loss for the Phoenix in Horizon League play since Jan. 31, 2013.
Wednesday’s game seemed to go against Green Bay from the start. After the Phoenix took a 4-2 lead on a jumper from Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.), Valparaiso scored the next nine points to lead 11-4. Making eight of their first 10 shots from the field, the Crusaders jumped out to a double-digit lead at 22-11, and the Phoenix was unable to cut it to single digits the rest of the night.
With Valparaiso shooting 70.8 percent, junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) tried to keep the Phoenix close in the opening half. Sykes scored 14 points and dished out five assists in the first 20 minutes, and his two free throws with 29 seconds before halftime cut the deficit to 42-29 at the break.
Sykes scored the first point of the second half on a free throw, but the Crusaders used a 14-0 spurt over the next five minutes to increase its lead to 56-30 and the Phoenix could get no closer than the final margin of 15 points.
Nine of the 10 players who saw action scored for Green Bay, but Sykes was the only player to reach double figures with 19 points and six assists. The Phoenix shot 38.3 percent from the field while Valparaiso finished at 58.7 percent.
A two-time All-Horizon League performer, Brown had played in each of the first 116 games in his four-year career. On Sunday against Detroit, he became the first Horizon League player in history to reach 1,500-plus points, 750-plus rebounds and 250-plus blocks in his career. He is averaging 16.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game in 2013-14.
Green Bay returns home to begin a three-game homestand on Saturday at the Resch Center, hosting Wright State at 6 p.m. in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
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