GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – If Green Bay (11-3, 2-0 HL) continues to play its second halves like it has been lately, the wins will continue to come. The Phoenix trailed by 10 in the first half, but used a 25-7 second-half run to down visiting Youngstown State (9-8, 0-2 HL) 85-69 on Saturday afternoon at the Resch Center. It was the sixth-straight win for the Phoenix, which closed its homestand with a perfect 5-0 record.
Junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) led the Phoenix run, tallying 13 points and eight assists in the second half before finishing just shy of a triple-double with 24 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) also reached 20 points in the Phoenix victory as both of the All-Horizon League Phoenix players shot 9-of-16 from the field.
Hitting eight of its first 12 shots, Youngstown State jumped out to a 25-15 lead 10 minutes into the game. The Phoenix used an 8-0 run to close the gap, but the Penguins led 34-25 with 4:43 to play before halftime. Getting seven points from Sykes and six from Brown, Green Bay closed the half with a 14-4 run to lead 40-38 at halftime.
The 7-foot-1 Brown had 14 points at the break and finished with 20 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. With his three blocks, Brown has 50 rejections on the season and now owns the top-four spots on the program’s single-season blocks chart.
The Phoenix extended the run into the second half, scoring the first six points. After YSU closed to 46-45, Green Bay scored 25 of the next 32 points to increase its lead to 71-52 with 7:51 remaining.
The second half run has become a common theme for the Phoenix during its winning streak. In the second halves of the past six games, Green Bay is outscoring its opponents by 18 points while shooting 59.8 percent (98-164) and holding its opponents to 28.5 percent shooting from the field (49-172).
As Sykes continued to produce with the shot and the pass, Green Bay’s lead reached as many as 20. Sykes scored or assisted on 14 of the team’s 22 second-half field goals.
Green Bay dominated the paint, holding a 58-20 edge in points in the paint and outrebounding the Penguins 38-31. Led by Sykes, who did not commit a turnover, Green Bay had 18 assists and just 10 turnovers.
After YSU’s quick start, the Penguins made just 13 of their last 40 shots from the field. Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Kendrick Perry was held seven points below his average with 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
Aiding Sykes and Brown, junior Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) finished with 16 points and seven rebounds and sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Green Bay returns to action on Tuesday, playing its final non-conference game of the season at Chicago State at 7 p.m.
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