Green Bay (6-7) at Wright State (9-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 3, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Nutter Center (12,000) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: TWC 99. Home Record: Green Bay 5-1, WSU 5-0. Away Record: Green Bay 0-5, WSU 3-3. Neutral Record: Green Bay 1-1, WSU 1-1. Conference Record: Green Bay 0-0, WSU 0-0. Series Record: Green Bay leads, 24-22.
GAME NOTES: The Wright State Raiders will attempt to stay perfect at the Nutter Center on Thursday night, as they entertain the Green Bay Phoenix in the Horizon League opener for both teams.
Green Bay has been able to salvage a poor start to the season by ripping off three straight wins over Marquette (49-47), South Dakota (72-55) and most recently, Illinois-Springfield last Sunday (84-43) to inch closer to .500 at 6-7. The Phoenix has had virtually no success on the road however, losing all five contests away from home.
As for Wright State, it has been much more consistent on its way to a solid 9-4 mark, as it has yet to lose back-to-back games at any point. After dropping a hard-fought 68-58 decision to nationally-ranked Cincinnati on Dec. 22, the Raiders bounced back nicely last Sunday with a 58-49 win over Mount Saint Joseph's for their fourth win in the last five contests.
Green Bay won both matchups against Wright State last season after losing the previous four. As a result, the Phoenix cling to a 24-22 series advantage,
The Phoenix had no trouble dismissing Illinois-Springfield in their latest outing, as not only did they shoot an astounding 59.3 percent from the field (including 8-of-14 from 3-point range), but they held their overmatched opponent to more turnovers (18) than field goals (15) in the 39-point rout. Sultan Muhammad had a career-game off the bench for Green Bay, making 5-of-6 attempts from beyond the arc en route to 21 points. Alec Brown was strong in the paint with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Keifer Sykes added 15 points, five boards and six dishes. The offensive outburst was more the exception rather than the rule for Green Bay this season, as it averages just over 67 ppg on a modest 42.7 percent shooting effort. Sykes has put himself on the short list of the league's best guards, ranking third in scoring (16.6 ppg) while dishing out 3.8 apg. Brown (12.7 ppg) and Brennan Cougill (11.7 ppg) both grab 6.8 rpg. However, Cougill has missed the last four games while serving an indefinite suspension.
Considering its inferior opponent, Wright State struggled offensively in its last outing, putting up a mere 58 points while shooting a woeful 1-of-15 from 3-point range. However, it managed to hold on for the nine-point victory over Mount Saint Joseph's by playing relentless defense in forcing an incredible 29 turnovers. Jerran Young had his coming out party in the win, rarely missing from the floor (11-of-14) on his way to a career-high 24 points while adding six rebounds, six steals and two blocks for good measure. Miles Dixon was also impressive with 10 points and four steals. The game was a microcosm of the Raiders' season to this point, as they hold foes to just 40.6 percent shooting and 56.2 ppg, while sporting positive scoring (plus-5.8) and turnover (plus-3.9) margins. Cole Darling is the team's top scorer with 11.2 ppg, while Dixon adds 10.3 ppg. Young tallies just 6.5 ppg and 3.8 rpg, but those averages jump to 19.0 ppg and 7.3 rpg in the last three games, which not so coincidentally are the only three games he has played more than 20 minutes.
Green Bay seemed to get its scoring stroke back in its latest win, but it will be hard-pressed to continue its hot streak on the road against a stingy Wright State squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wright State 65, Green Bay 57
01/03 10:44:39 ET