GAME NOTES: In the final day of the World Vision Classic, the Green Bay Phoenix will meet up with the Cal State Fullerton Titans at Lawlor Events Center.
The Phoenix are in the unenviable position of having to pick itself back up off a heartbreaking loss. A 3-pointer from Nevada's Deonte Burton with 1.3 seconds left in regulation dashed Green Bay's hopes on Saturday as the Phoenix lost to Nevada 71-69. The defeat was the first of the season for Green Bay which has a road trip to face Idaho in its next game.
On the other side Cal State Fullerton is riding high into this contest. The Titans were on fire in their first win of the season on Saturday when they blasted Southern Utah 112-69. The Titans will play their first home game of the season in their next matchup against San Diego Christian.
This is the first meeting between these teams.
Green Bay fought its way back against Nevada and led after Alec Brown nailed a 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining. The Phoenix got off to a slow start, shooting 33.3 percent in the first half but heated up to 51.9 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes. Green Bay was the superior team on the boards with 39 rebounds to Nevada's 34 but was also guilty of a game-high 17 turnovers. Brennan Cougill paced the offense with 16 points.
Guard Keifer Sykes had only 11 points against Nevada which was a season low. Thus Sykes, who is playing a team-high 34 minutes per contest, is scoring at a very high rate (18.3 ppg). Also in double figures this season are Cougill (14.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Alec Brown (10.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg). As a 7-foot-1 center Brown is not normally one to hit shots from the outside but more often a consistent presence on the inside. Cougill, who stands at 6-foot-9 teams with Brown to give the Phoenix an imposing frontline. The Phoenix don't get a whole lot in terms of production from the bench with all five starters playing at least 25 minutes per game. Carrington Love (5.3 ppg) and Sultan Muhammad (4.0 ppg) are3 the top reserves though each is playing just about 15 minutes per contest.
Cal State Fullerton put on a dazzling offensive display in its win over Southern Utah. The Titans shot at a scorching 64.9 percent clip in the game, including a 12-of-17 effort from 3-point range. The Titans also posted impressive number in assists (30), while recording 20 steals and forcing 30 turnovers overall. D.J. Seeley was an offensive juggernaut in the game, scoring 32 points on a 10-of-13 shooting effort.
Seeley gives Cal State Fullerton a clear answer for Sykes' scoring for Green Bay. The senior guard (20.3 ppg) is the leading scorer for the team but has not been a selfish player as he hands out 5.7 assists per contest. The most common recipients of Seeley's helpers are Kwame Vaughn and Sammy Yeager. Vaughn, a senior guard, is scoring 17.0 points per game this season, while also rebounding well from the backcourt (4.7 pg). Yeager, a senior forward, patrols the interior for the Titans scoring 16.3 points per game while pulling down a team-high 6.7 rebounds per contest. Even with Yeager's efforts the Titans have not been a strong rebounding team, bringing in only 30.3 per game. Alex Harris (10.0 ppg) is off the a good start early on in his sophomore season especially considering his 5-of-5 effort from beyond the arc against Southern Utah.
The duel between Seeley and Sykes should be an intriguing one in this matchup. With those two going at it, the difference will be which supporting cast can turn in the better performance. Vaughn and Yeager give the edge to Cal State Fullerton.
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