Oddsmakers are calling for a highly-competitive game Thursday evening when the Green Bay Phoenix of University of Wisconsin travel to Youngstown, Ohio to battle the Penguins. Green Bay is the top team in the Horizon and are favored by a single point against Youngstown – losers of three straight games and seventh-best in the conference. The game will tip at 7:05 PM from the Beeghly Physical Education Center.
This game will be an up and down affair between two teams with a couple supremely talented scorers on the perimeter that like to get up and down and score points. The visiting Phoenix have a little-known superstar by the name of Kiefer Sykes. Sykes is a 5’11” junior that is averaging over 20 points per game for Green Bay while shooting just under 50 percent overall from the field. Sykes combines incredible shiftiness with great finishing ability and body control to score pretty much at will on penetration. An average shooter, Sykes converts just 30 percent of his three-point shots but the outside shot isn’t his game. When Sykes is going well it is his penetration and pull-up jumper that form a lethal combination for anyone in the conference to match-up one-on-one with.
Youngstown State counters with a 20+ points per game scorer of their own with senior Kendrick Perry. Perry is re-writing the YSU Basketball record books in his senior season – putting up 20.5 points per game with incredible efficiency. Perry shoots over 50 percent from the field, including over 35 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Perry is also an incredibly gifted perimeter defender and has averaged 2.6 steals per game in his senior season. He is often the only real source of legitimate scoring for Youngstown State, which has struggled to keep up with the top-notch talent in the Horizon League this season. The question is whether or not someone can emerge as a reliable secondary scorer for Youngstown State on its home floor if it wants to spring the upset.
Each team’s guard will prove tough for the opposition. Green Bay has the next best player on the court in 7’1″ center Alec Brown – a senior from Winona, MN. Despite being the largest player in the conference, Brown is primarily a perimeter scorer but will need to assert himself in the paint. Youngstown State has the home court advantage, where it is 11-2 this season and is coming off of three straight tough losses. The Penguins will come out with a purpose in front of their home crowd for the first time in about three weeks. Look for Youngstown to break 70 and for this one to be close all the way to the end.
Free Pick: Over 146.5