|Posted by Brian Dickmann on February 14, 2016 at 3:50 PM|
Photo via Green Bay Athletics
It's been a weird schedule for the Green Bay Phoenix mens basketball team so far this season.
The Phoenix wrapped up their final road trip of the season this past weekend with a Thursday night win at Detroit followed by a 111-93 loss at Oakland on Saturday afternoon.
The trip marked Green Bay's final road game of the season and ended a stretch that saw the Phoenix play 10 of 12 games on the road.
In fact, 17 of their first 26 games this season have been road games.
As of Sunday morning, only four teams in all of NCAA Division I have played more true road games than Green Bay's 17: Mississippi Valley State, IUPUI, Maryland-Eastern Shore, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff all have played 18 road games.
"Not neutral site games, we’ve played that many strictly road games," head coach Linc Darner said earlier this week. "It’s been a long stretch here."
Green Bay stands at 15-11 overall this season and 7-6 in Horizon League play, currently tied for 4th place with Milwaukee.
The Phoenix have alternated wins and losses in their last 12 games and have not won back-to-back games since beating Wright State and Cleveland State back on January 4th and 7th, respectively.
"We’ve let a couple [get away] that we maybe could’ve won, but we’ve played some pretty good teams on the road too," Darner said.
Amazingly, Green Bay has gone 4-0 in conference road games on Thursday nights but dropped to 0-4 on the back end of those road trips in Saturday games.
"You always talk about splitting on road trips and if you can win more than you lose on the road, you’ve got a chance normally to finish first or second in the conference," said Darner. "Sometimes when you win that first one, maybe sometimes you feel relaxed, ‘OK, well we’ve got the one win so it doesn’t really matter what we do in the second game because we’ve got the split.’
"Sometimes you need a real veteran team to understand that you’ve got to come mentally prepared and focused every single night."
The Phoenix return home to the Resch Center Monday night where they are 67-16 overall in the past 6 seasons. They'll host a Milwaukee team that is coming off a Michigan split as well, beating Oakland on Thursday night and falling at Detroit on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers knocked off Green Bay, 95-94, back on January 29th in Milwaukee in a thrilling game that came down to the wire. It was a game Darner felt the Phoenix should've won.
"It’s one of those ones that got away," he said. "We’re up 4 with under 4 minutes left. We’ve got 2 one and ones, we miss both of those that could’ve put us up 8. We fouled them twice going to the hoop for three point plays which are big momentum breakers."
Green Bay led by 4, 92-88, with 1:34 left after Turner Botz buried a contested three pointer. But UWM would score the next 7 points, capped off with Jordan Johnson's layup and a foul for a three point play with just over 5 seconds left.
Prior to Johnson's layup, the Phoenix had a chance to take the lead with the game tied at 92 but senior guard Carrington Love missed a three pointer.
"We just didn’t execute the last play right," Darner said. "We got the switch we wanted and for some reason we ran into Carrington’s way. If we would’ve stayed spread I think he could’ve beat Arians off the dribble to the rim."
Love, who finished with 24 points and 6 assists, would make 2 free throws following Johnson's and-1 to bring the score to 95-94.
Green Bay quickly fouled Akeem Springs with 3.7 seconds left and he promptly missed both free throws but was able to get his own offensive rebound and the clock ran out, sealing the victory for Milwaukee.
"At the free throw line, we don’t box out with 3.7," said Darner. "3.7 is a lot of time, you can get 3 dribbles and a shot. We didn’t box out and they get the offensive rebound which is the third time this year that a team’s had nobody on the free throw line and got an offensive rebound against us."
The Phoenix shot 63.6% from the floor in the losing effort, including 73.3% in the second half. All five starters scored in double figures led by Love's 24, as well as Jordan Fouse chipping in 19, 13 from Charles Cooper, 12 from Kenneth Lowe, and 11 from Khalil Small.
Green Bay's final five regular season games will all be home, starting with the clash against UWM on Monday night. They'll then host Youngstown State on Saturday and Cleveland State on Monday before wrapping up the regular season with home games against UIC and Valparaiso.
Monday night's game tips off at 7:00 at the Resch Center and can be seen live on ESPN3 or heard in Green Bay and Northeastern Wisconsin on 101.9 FM or 1440 AM WNFL. It is Bud Light Night at the Resch Center with fans able to purchase 24-ounce Bud Light for just $2.
The Phoenix lead the all-time series with Milwaukee 32-24 and have won six of the last nine match-ups with the Panthers.
Categories: Phoenix Preview