Phoenix men put exclamation point on early season success

The post-game notes said it best, “a 75-72 non-conference win over the Virginia Cavaliers — a team ‘receiving votes’ in both national top-25 polls — put an exclamation point on an exciting weekend for the Green Bay men’s basketball program.”

The hard-earned victory on Saturday, Dec. 7, came against the Virginia team coached by Tony Bennett, a Phoenix Hall of Famer and the program’s all-time leading scorer. During his storied career at UW-Green Bay from 1988-92, Bennett starred for his father Dick Bennett and helped the team to the 1991 NCAA Tournament. His 2,285 career points and 601 career assists still rank first in Phoenix history.

Earlier in the weekend, Tony and Dick Bennett graciously agreed to participate in a fundraiser for Phoenix Athletics, “An Evening with the Bennetts.” Prior to the tipoff, Tony Bennett was honored with a video tribute.

Once the game began, juniors Greg Mays and Keifer Sykes took charge, combining for 45 points against one of the nation’s top defensive teams. Mays finished with a career-high 24 points. (Sykes was  honored pre-game for joining the program’s 1,000 point club.

While Virginia entered the game allowing the second-fewest points per game in the nation and ranked eighth nationally in field goal percentage defense (36.2 percent). Green Bay shot 51 percent from the field (26-51), 50 percent from long range (7-14) and scored more points than any Cavalier opponent this season.

The Phoenix will hit the road for games against Eastern Michigan and South Dakota before returning home for a five-game homestand beginning Tuesday, December 17 against Tennessee Tech. Go to the website for schedules of all the Phoenix teams and online purchase of tickets for upcoming contests.

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Photos by Marketing and Communication intern Cheyenne Makinia