By: Brian Dickmann
(Photo via Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal)
If you didn't think the heartbreak from last season's devastating loss to Valparaiso at the buzzer in the semi-finals of the Horizon League Tournament could be topped, you were wrong.
Almost exactly a year after Ryan Broekhoff drained a 3 at the buzzer to send Valpo to the title game, Green Bay again fell in soul-crushing fashion in the conference tournament semi-finals on Saturday night at the Resch Center. This time it was an overtime defeat at the hands of their biggest rival.
Playing in front of 7,113 in a hostile, electrifying atmosphere, Jordan Aaron led the way again for the Milwaukee Panthers, who defeated the Phoenix for the 2nd time this year in Green Bay, this time winning 73-66 in overtime.
Aaron put on a show for the third time this year against GB, playing all 45 minutes in the game and scoring a game high 28 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. The 5-10 senior from the Bronx, NY averages almost 15 points per game this season. But in the three games against Green Bay, the Phoenix had no answer, allowing him to score an average of 28.0 points per game.
Only 5 players scored in the game for Milwaukee, who shot nearly 45% from the floor.
For Green Bay, to say the first half was a struggle would be an understatement. They made only 6 first half shots, shooting 22% (6 for 27, 0-5 from three) and scored just 19 points. However, they trailed by only 9 at halftime and it felt like the game was still in their reach.
A big second half saw the Phoenix score 43 points on 56% shooting (14-25, 3-6 from three). Green Bay had the lead with under a minute left when Alec Brown's missed three pointer rimmed out and then Jordan Aaron came up huge again, tying the game the 15 seconds left. Keifer Sykes drove to the basket to try for the winning score but was no good, and the two teams went to overtime for the 2nd time this season.
Sykes, who was playing on a hyper-extended knee and a badly rolled ankle, still was able able to play 37 of the game's 45 minutes but wasn't able to be as explosive as he usually is. He finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Brown, who also appeared to be playing through an injury, had a dreadful night shooting the basketball, scoring 9 points on just 3 of 14 shooting, including 1 of 4 from downtown.
Green Bay became the first #1 seed in the conference tournament since 2002 to lose before the championship game. In fact, since 2001 the Phoenix are 0-7 in Horizon League Tournament semi-final games.
For many Phoenix fans, this season was NCAA Tournament or bust. To see those dreams come crashing to the ground at home, in front of one of the best atmosphere's in Resch Center history, and to your arch-rival that just last week was blown out at home by the worst team in the league, is devastating.
The Phoenix will surely now play in the NIT, a tournament that they will most likely be a high seed and have a good chance of playing a home game. A potential match-up with Marquette isn't out of the question. Green Bay hasn't appeared in the NIT since 1992.
It's not time to start thinking about next year quite yet. But with the expectations and the talent on the team this year, it's hard not to think about what could have been.
By: Brian Dickmann
(Photo via MSU-WP)
Edwards is a 6'5", 190 pound sophomore guard at Missouri State - West Plains, a junior college in southern Missouri near the Arkansas border. Appearing in 29 games so far this season and starting 28 of them, he's averaging 14.3 points per game on 44.4% shooting from the field, including 33.8% from three point land. He also dishes out 3.1 assists and grabs 2.3 rebounds per game.
Originally from Milwaukee, Edwards was ranked as a 3-star recruit by Rivals coming out of high school and a 2-star recruit by ESPN. Playing at Milwaukee King, his senior year he helped the Generals reach the WIAA Division 1 championship game before falling to undefeated Germantown 72-69. Edwards led the team with 18 points and 3 steals in that game.
ESPN's scouting report on him says: "Arroyo is a warrior of a guard. He can play either guard spot but is best with the ball in his hands. He is always in attack mode as he attacks the lane relentlessly. He is a very good passer and knows how to find the open man when he is driving to the basket. Edwards is a solid shooter with range to 19 feet. He can score off the dribble with pull up jumpers or when driving all the way to the basket."
Out of high school, he had interest coming in from a few schools but ultimately chose to go the junior college route, settling with Missouri State - West Plains. He will have two years of eligibility remaining at the school he chooses to attend.
Edwards has received at least eight scholarship offers while at JUCO, from Green Bay, Milwaukee, Southern University, North Dakota, IPFW, Western Kentucky, Texas-San Antonio, and South Dakota before narrowing his list down to five.
By: Brian Dickmann
(Photo via FIBA.com)
Head Coach Brian Wardle and the Green Bay Phoenix have extended a scholarship offer to 6'8" forward David Skara of Zadar, Croatia. The Class of 2014 player is currently playing at Midwest Elite Prep Academy in Merrillville, IN. Their assistant coach Chris Artis announced the news this past weekend on his Twitter feed.
Green Bay is the first school to offer a scholarship to Skara, who played for Croatia in the 2012 U17 FIBA World Championships, averaging 2.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 5.0 minutes per contest. His best performance came when he scored 10 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 13 minutes in a big win against South Korea.
Skara took an official visit to Green Bay on March 4th.
Green Bay has one scholarship available for the 2014 recruiting class. The Phoenix have offers out to other big men such as Fred Iduwe and Afam Osu, who both play at St Johns Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield.
The Phoenix will be looking to replace 7'1" center Alec Brown, a projected 2nd round NBA Draft pick, as well as 6'6" wing Vince Garrett and 6'6" forward Daniel Turner, who left the program after graduating after the Fall '13 semester.
Two players in the 2014 class have signed with Green Bay already: Daeshon Francis (6-3 guard) from Indianapolis as well as Khalil Small (6-2 guard) from Chicago.
More Green Bay basketball recruiting information is available here.
By: Brian Dickmann
The Green Bay Phoenix have won the Horizon League regular season championship for the first time in 18 years. Last Thursday's 67-53 defeat of the Valparaiso Crusaders also guaranteed the Phoenix the #1 seed and a double-bye to the semifinals in the upcoming Horizon League Tournament.
This past Thursday's 71-63 win at Oakland wrapped up the outright conference championship.
The #1 seed means the tournament's quarterfinals and semifinals will be held at the Resch Center, along with the championship game if Green Bay is able to win it's semifinal match-up.
The Phoenix were able to avenge a 75-60 loss at Valpo earlier this season, a game they played without their star center Alec Brown.
Last Thursday night was senior night at the Resch and Brown made his presence known, especially at the defensive end, blocking eight shots as well as scoring 14 points of his own. He was efficient from three shooting 2-3 from downtown to go along with 4-4 from the free throw line.
The regular season conference championship is just the first step towards returning to the NCAA Tournament, something the team also hasn't done in 18 years.
The Phoenix will most likely need to win the conference tournament to get in as the odds seem bleak for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament at this point.
The Horizon League Tournament starts Tuesday, March 4th at campus sites of the higher seeded team. Then, it all shifts to the Resch Center on Friday night, March 7th for the second round and then Saturday night, March 8th for the semifinals. The conference tournament championship game is Tuesday, March 11 on ESPN and would be at the Resch Center if the Phoenix win their semifinal game.