By: Brian Dickmann
(Photo via Press-Gazette Media)
Five takeaways from Green Bay's 66-50 victory over Morehead State on Wednesday night at the Resch Center:
1. Attacking the basket
Morehead State is a very aggressive team and the Phoenix were able to use it against them, attacking the basket and getting fouled early and often. Green Bay went to the free throw line 35 times in the game and shot nearly 48% (22-46) from the floor thanks to easy baskets around the rim.
"We jumped on them pretty quick," head coach Brian Wardle said after the game. "I thought we did a decent job taking care of the basketball with 10 turnovers against an aggressive, athletic team. Overall, I thought we played better than we did our last game, so that was a positive sign."
2. Carrington Love stays hot
Keifer Sykes can't do it by himself, and Carrington Love has been stepping it up lately. He scored in double figures for the third straight game on Wednesday night, scoring 12 points on just 5-7 shooting, including 1-2 from downtown. He also contributed 5 assists and a steal in 29 minutes of action. Love lit up Miami for a career high 20 points 11 days ago and scored 12 points on Saturday evening in Green Bay's 64-48 victory over Drake.
3. Stifling Phoenix defense
Morehead State came into the game averaging nearly 70 points per game and shooting over 42% from the floor. Green Bay was able to limit the Eagles to 60 points on just 33.3% shooting (17-51). Morehead State also committed 16 turnovers in the game.
Their leading scorer, Angelo Warner, came into the game scoring 15.3 points per game but was held to a lowly 2 points, a season low. He shot just 1-6 from the floor before fouling out after 21 minutes.
By: Brian Dickmann | 12-15-14
(Photo via Press-Gazette Media)
The top 5 in both polls are almost identical, with all 5 being 1-loss teams. Gonzaga (9-1) remains number 1, followed by Wichita State (7-1). Northern Iowa (9-1), is #3 in CollegeInsider.com's poll, followed by Harvard (7-1), and St. Mary's (6-1). Mid-Major Madness has Harvard at 3 and Northern Iowa at 4.
The Phoenix (7-2) had just one game in the last week, defeating Drake 64-48 on Saturday evening at the Resch Center.
A few Horizon League teams also showed up in this week's poll: Valparaiso (#11 CollegeInsider / receiving votes Mid-Major Madness), Wright State (#23 CollegeInsider), and Detroit (receiving votes CollegeInsider).
Green Bay is 2-1 against teams that appear on either one of the polls, beating Evansville and Florida Gulf Coast and falling on the road to Georgia State. The Phoenix will play Georgia State again on December 27th in Green Bay.
In way, way too early NCAA Tournament predictions, Green Bay appeared in CBS Sport's Bracketology on Monday. Jerry Palm has the Phoenix listed as an 8 seed playing against the 9 seed California at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville. ESPN's Joe Lunardi's next full Bracketology won't be until January 5th, but he tweeted that he would have Green Bay as a 12 seed.
Next up for the Phoenix is a home contest against Morehead State on Wednesday night followed by two games in Las Vegas on Sunday and Monday. Green Bay will face Arkansas-Little Rock on Sunday afternoon and then will play either Bradley or UC-Irvine on Monday.
By: Brian Dickmann | 12-06-14
(Photo: Lynne Sladky / AP)
If the Green Bay Phoenix are going to reach the NCAA Tournament this season for the first time since 1996, they are going to need steady contributions from players not named Keifer Sykes.
On Saturday afternoon in Miami, Carrington Love was able to do that and then some, scoring a career high 20 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.
The Phoenix knocked off a high-major team for the third straight season, handing #15 Miami their first loss of the season, 68-55.
A game after the Phoenix starting 5 (minus Sykes) scored just 11 points on 4-21 shooting, Green Bay was able to get contributions from Love as well as 10 points from Greg Mays and 8 from Kenneth Lowe. But it was Carrington Love who stole the show.
Love, who had been off to a bit of a slow start so far this season, came into the game averaging 5.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per contest. He scored just 2 points total in the team's two previous games, including an 0-4 shooting night in 24 minutes of action in Green Bay's 72-48 loss at Georgia State.
"Carrington's a very good player," said head coach Brian Wardle after the game. "That's what we talked about after Thursday night, we just needed that consistency and we had it today."
The Hurricanes (8-1) played a box and one defense for stretches of the game, with a man guarding Sykes and the four other players playing a box, 2-2 defense. Love's shooting (5-8 from the floor, including 1-3 from downtown) along with unselfish play from others allowed the Phoenix to play the game at their pace. "That's the one thing I learned is to attack an aggressive group. We were trying to trying to control the tempo, control the lead," Wardle said.
Love's career average points per game is 5.4, including 5.9 at home and 3.9 in true road games. His previous career high came last January in a home game against Oakland where he scored 17 points.
Sykes and Love were able to seal the deal for Green Bay (6-2) at the free throw line late. "Carrington and Keifer on the foul line late game is huge. They both go 7 of 8 and that's how you close out games," said Wardle.
'None of us were proud of our performance on Thursday. High character people respond through failure and through adversity. That's the only way to lead to success and that's what I told them Thursday night. We're going to be successful, but we've got to bounce back and be locked in. I don't know if I've been prouder of a team."
If Green Bay is able to get consistent help from players other than Sykes, things bode well for the future.
"Go on the road, 15th ranked team in the country, and they deserve that ranking they are legit, and I thought we brought the fight to them and really sustained it on the road in the ACC against a really good team. I'm so proud."
The Phoenix return to action on Saturday at the Resch Center when they host Drake at 4:00 PM.
Photo: Lynne Sladky / AP
Local and national write-ups about Green Bay's 68-55 victory over #15 Miami from Saturday afternoon in Florida:
Green Bay Press-Gazette: UW-Green Bay men stun No. 15 Miami
GreenBayPhoenix.com: Green Bay Posts Historic Road Win at No. 15 Miami
Fox Sports Florida: Miami experiences first letdown of season
Miami Sun-Sentinel: Lackluster start, poor shooting doom No. 15 Miami against Green Bay
Palm Beach Post: Miami falls flat, falls to Green Bay for season's 1st defeat
Post-game press conference
By: Brian Dickmann | 10-22-14
Photo via Green Bay Phoenix
Alfonzo McKinnie is poised for a big season this year for the Green Bay Phoenix. The 5th year senior will be a key figure in Green Bay's quest to repeat as Horizon League regular season champions as well as accomplish their goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996.
The 6' 8" forward from Chicago transferred to Green Bay two years ago after a very successful sophomore season at Eastern Illinois, averaging 10.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 23.8 minutes per game for the Panthers. An effective scorer, his 56.7% field goal percentage was good for 2nd in the Ohio Valley Conference in 2011-2012, and his 7.0 rebounds per game were 5th highest in the league. He was forced to sit out the 2012-2013 season with the Phoenix due to NCAA transfer rules.
McKinnie endured a frustrating season a year ago. He suffered a right knee injury in camp prior to the season. When it started bothering him last October, he got it checked out and it was discovered that he had a torn meniscus. He underwent surgery the next day and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
Head Coach Brian Wardle said in a statement at the time that “Alfonzo’s surgery went well and he has already gotten the rehab process underway. We expect this will only be a minor setback for Alfonzo, but we will be very conservative and diligent with the process. He is going to be a major part of our team this season, and we look forward to getting him back on the court with his teammates.”
By: Brian Dickmann | 10-20-14
(Photo via Newcastle Eagle)
Former Green Bay Phoenix star guard Rahmon Fletcher has returned to professional basketball in a big way. The 2011 UWGB graduate has helped lead his Newcastle Eagles team to a British Basketball League leading 4-1 start.
Fletcher, 25, took last season off and signed with Newcastle this past summer. He told the Eagles website that last season "the right situation never came and teams looked over me."
Prior to joining Newcastle, Fletcher played two seasons in the Netherlands where he averaged 14 points and 4 assists per game.
"I’m honored to sign with this organization and I will do everything I can to be the best for the team and do whatever it takes to bring a championship to Newcastle" Fletcher told the website.
“We feel with Rahmon we have signed a floor general who can lead our team but also has the capability to choose when it is time for himself to step up to get his own shot. We also feel that his personality will be the right fit for our team and our club" said Eagles assistant coach Dave Forrester.
After dropping their first game of the season at home against defending playoff champion Worcester, Newcastle has won their last 4 games and sit in a first place tie in the league.
The Newcastle Eagles are one of the most prestigious basketball clubs in the United Kingdom, winning 6 regular season championships, including last season.
Fletcher is averaging 12.2 points, 5.8 assists, and 1.2 steals in a little over 28 minutes per game this season. He said, "for me personally I’m finding my way. This team has really accepted me and allowed me to take it over as their point guard and that gives me the confidence to flow through.” His confidence has been starting to show in earnest in the last two games, scoring 17 points in both games while dishing out 8 and 5 assists, respectively.
"We stick together and win together. If one part falls apart then we all fall apart as we’re like family and we watch each others backs. This is a great team to play in and a great club to be part of" said Fletcher.
Rahmon Fletcher will always be considered one of the top Green Bay players in program history. He ranks in the top ten in school history in career points (1,678), field goals made (633), field goals attempted (1,338), three point field goals made (150) and attempted (399), assists (438). His 197 career steals rank 2nd in program history behind only Terry Evans' 237.
Next up for the Newcastle Eagles is a home game vs Surrey United on Friday followed by a road contest at the London Lions on Sunday.
By: Brian Dickmann | 10-16-14
(Photo via Green Bay Press-Gazette)
The 2014-2015 non-conference schedule will feature multiple opportunities for NCAA Tournament résumé building victories. The Phoenix will play 14 games, facing high major opponents Wisconsin and Miami, solid mid-major programs East Carolina, Georgia State (twice), Drake, and Morehead State, as well as other possible opponents such as Florida Gulf Coast, Bradley, and Hawaii, among others.
Last season, Green Bay finished the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 9-3 record, including wins over NCAA Tournament teams Virginia and Tulsa. The three losses were to NCAA Tournament teams Wisconsin and Harvard as well as a road loss to Eastern Michigan, who finished just 2 wins shy of an NCAA appearance a season ago.
Here is a look at the 2014 Green Bay Phoenix non-conference schedule: