Green Bay soars over Pepperdine in Shootout

bbragg@adn.comNovember 28, 2013 

Pho Slamma Jamma put on a show Thursday night at Sullivan Arena. That's Pho for the Green Bay Phoenix, a high-flying team that grabbed a 97-89 win over Pepperdine in the first round of the Carrs-Safeway Great Alaska Shootout.

The Phoenix soared for five dunks in the victory, three by 6-foot-9 forward Greg Mays and two by 5-11 guard Keifer Sykes, whose 441/2-inch vertical leap enabled him to execute a monster, two-handed dunk late in the first half.

As entertaining as all of that was, it was the polar opposite of the jam that fueled the Green Bay offense.

The Phoenix drilled 10 3-pointers and shot better from behind the arc (52.6 percent) than in front of it (43.7 percent) -- this from a team that shot 14 of 46 from 3-point range in three previous games this season.

"They shot the ball better than we thought they could," Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson said.

Green Bay coach Brian Wardle said that's because his team took better shots than usual.

"It's a great shooting gym," he said of Sullivan Arena, "good backing, good lighting. Our shot selection was much better tonight. In previous games we rushed some 3s, but a lot of these were off reversals (or) after one extra pass."

Sykes poured in 23 points, 7-1 Alec Brown buried four of five treys for 21 points, Mays added 18 and two others hit double figures for Green Bay (3-1).

The Phoenix recorded assists on 25 of 31 baskets -- seven guys had assists, including four with four or more. And they only turned over the ball 4 times.

"We were very confident offensively all night," Wardle said.

Defensively, Green Bay was awesome -- 13 steals and 11 blocks. Their energy and athleticism forced many of Pepperdine's 20 turnovers.

It was an entertaining game between two teams from vastly different geographical locales.

The Phoenix of the Horizon League live in the land of frozen tundra and cheeseheads. Pepperdine of the West Coast Conference is located in Malibu, Calif., a land of beaches, blondes and surfboards.

It was back and forth until Green Bay outscored Pepperdine 16-5 in a six-minute stretch that turned a six-point lead into a 17-point advantage.

Late in that stretch, Sykes and Mays each had a dunk in 7-0 run.

Pepperdine (4-2) refused to be blown out, chipping away at the lead from 3-point land. The Wave made it a two-possession game, 93-87, on Brendan Lane's 3-pointer with 22 seconds left, but Mays expanded the lead with his final dunk at the 15-second mark.

Lane, a transfer from UCLA, pumped in a game-high 26 points on 12 of 14 shooting and had a game-high 13 rebounds. Jeremy Major, a hot-shooting 5-10 freshman, had a 19-point, 12-assist double-double and David Jesperson grabbed 12 rebounds.

Pepperdine star Stacy Davis, last season's Newcomer of the Year, did not start because he was late to a practice this week and finished far below his averages with seven points and two rebounds.

The stat line of the game belonged to Green Bay's Jordan Fouse, a 6-7 sophomore who didn't score a point but made an impact everywhere else with seven rebounds, six steals, four assists and three blocks.

Reach Beth Bragg at or 257-4335.

PEPPERDINE (89) -- Jesperson 3-4 2-2 8, Lane 12-14 0-0 26, Kramer 4-8 0-0 12, Major 9-16 0-3 18, Brooks 3-6 0-0 8, Davis 2-6 2-2 7, Van Dyke 1-1 0-0 3, Mills 0-1 0-0 0, Murray 0-2 0-0 0, Skouen 2-7 0-0 6. Totals 36-65 4-7 89.

GREEN BAY (97) -- Fouse 0-5 0-5 0, Mays 8-13 2-2 18, Brown 7-15 3-5 21, Fulton 2-4 0-0 5, Sykes 5-11 12-12 23, Love 3-7 6-8 14, Findlay 0-0 0-0 0, Garrett 4-9 1-2 11, Lowe 2-3 1-1 5. Totals 31-67 25-35 97.

Pepperdine 38 51 -- 89

Green Bay 39 58 -- 97

3-pointers -- PU 13-24 (Lane 2-2, Kramer 4-5, Major 1-4, Brooks 2-2), GB 10-19 (Mays 0-1, Brown 4-5, Fulton 1-3, Sykes 1-3, Love 2-4, Garrett 2-3). Rebounds -- PU 39 (Lane 13, Jesperson 12), GB 33 (Brown 8, Fouse 7). Total fouls -- PU 25, GB 11. Fouled out -- Davis. Assists -- PU 16 (Major 12), GB 25 (Sykes 6). Turnovers -- PU 20 (Major 5), GB 4 (Brown 2). Blocks -- PU 5 (Lane 3), GB 11 (three with three). Steals -- PU 2, GB 13 (Fouse 6). Officials -- Thomson, McNew, Holland.


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