AMES, Iowa (WFRV) – Green Bay men’s basketball head coach Sundance Wicks generated a lot of buzz over the offseason, but the Phoenix are still far away from competitive as they were trounced on the opening night of college basketball by the Iowa State Cyclones 85-44.
While nobody expected Green Bay to stick close to Iowa State, the Phoenix were outmatched in every area, shooting an abysmal 28.3% from the field. Junior Noah Reynolds, who transferred from Wyoming, led Green Bay in points with 14.
Delafield native and senior Rich Byhre got his first start for the Phoenix but struggled from the field like most of the starting five, shooting 2-10 and 1-9 from behind the arc.
Iowa State played stout defense, as that has been a common theme for the Cyclones throughout the last several years, forcing scrappy turnovers and pressuring Green Bay, who has not built great team chemistry yet. The Phoenix finished with 16 turnovers.
The Cyclones were led by true freshman Milan Momcilovic, which is a name Wisconsinites may recognize as he played his high school ball in Pewaukee. Momcilovic had 18 points and seven rebounds in his first collegiate basketball game.
While it was clear Green Bay was more likely than not going to start the season 0-1, Sundance Wicks’ career as head coach for the Phoenix was nothing short of rocky.
It’ll take time for the Phoenix to figure it out, though, as a majority of the team is made up of transfers and young players. Coach Wicks has brought great energy to the men’s basketball program, and he’ll have his work cut out for him as the Phoenix progress through this season.
Green Bay will face St. Francis (Ill.), a Division III athletic program, at home on Thursday. This game should allow Wicks and the Phoenix faithful to get a better look at the starting five.
As for Iowa State, they’ll take on Lindenwood of the Ohio Valley Conference on Thursday.