ADVERTISEMENT

Green Bay beats Marquette 49-47

  • Article by: GREG BATES
  • Associated Press
  • December 20, 2012 - 7:01 AM

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Green Bay coach Brian Wardle didn't give much thought to the Phoenix's opponent before Wednesday night's nonconference game.

But it was certainly an important game for Wardle, who was trying beat his alma mater, Marquette, for the first time. Wardle played for Marquette from 1997-2001 and was 0-2 coaching against his former school, with both games being on the road.

Keifer Sykes scored 20 points as Green Bay held on to beat Marquette 49-47.

"I actually apologized to (Wardle) after the game for beating his alma mater, but I think he's still happy about it," Green Bay junior Alec Brown said.

Last season, Brown had a 21-point, 14-rebound, five-block performance against Marquette. On Wednesday, he managed nine points and seven rebounds.

Greg Mays added 11 points and five rebounds for the Phoenix. Marquette's four-game winning streak came to an end.

"It's a nice win. This is a very, very good team we just beat," Wardle said. "You beat Marquette — great tradition, great program — and obviously a very good program under Buzz Williams. He's done an unbelievable job with them, so it's a big win."

Green Bay (4-7) went ahead for good at 45-44 on Sykes' free throw with 3:10 to play. Brown followed with a jump shot to put the Phoenix up 47-44 and Mays later added a free throw. Marquette got back within 48-47 with 1:25 left on Davante Gardner's three-point play.

Marquette's Vander Blue missed the front end of a one-and-one with 35.1 seconds remaining, but the Golden Eagles pulled down the rebound. After two timeouts, Marquette got Jake Thomas an open 3-point look with 3 seconds on the clock, but it was missed. Brown got the rebound and hit one free throw. A desperation heave at the buzzer by Marquette was no good.

The Phoenix, who entered the game having lost four in a row and seven of the last eight, beat the Golden Eagles for only the third time in 12 meetings — but this was the first one played in Green Bay.

"I think this means a lot for the community, a lot for the school, for the program," Sykes said. "It just tells you the direction we're going in."

Jamil Wilson had 16 points for Marquette (7-3), but was held to two points in the second half. Junior Cadougan added eight points.

"I thought they (Green Bay) were great. I thought they got 98 percent of every 50-50 ball. I thought they forced us into uncharacteristic turnovers," Williams said. "Credit to Green Bay, credit to coach Wardle, credit to the healthy guys that they had playing. I thought they were superb."

Green Bay starting forward Brennan Cougill missed his second straight game after violating team policy. The Phoenix lost without him on Saturday to Southern Illinois.

Despite being undermanned and undersized, the Phoenix managed to outscore the Golden Eagles 22-20 in the paint.

The Phoenix play hard-nosed defense all night and limited the Golden Eagles to 27 percent shooting (6 of 22) in the second half and only 39 percent for the game.

"We want to let teams beat us from over the top by shooting instead of banging it inside because we lost Brennan Cougill, so we're thin on the front line," Sykes said. "It hurt us a little bit against SIU because we were adjusting to it but it worked well for us tonight."

Marquette led 10-6 early before Green Bay went on a 17-4 run, capped by back-to-back layups by Kiefer Sykes, to go up 23-14. The Golden Eagles responded with a 17-4 run of their own to make it 31-27 right before halftime. Marquette led 31-29 at the break.

In a seesaw second half, Marquette went up 37-36 on Jake Thomas' 3-pointer. Green Bay ended a drought of more than 6 minutes on Greg Mays' basket midway through the half that pulled the Phoenix within 39-38.

© 2014 Star Tribune