Green Bay Phoenix

Tod Kowalczyk
Associated Press

VIDEO: Toledo’s Sanford caps scramble with game-winning three

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While many were occupied with the various NFL games, Toledo and Green Bay were locked up in a tight contest that was decided by a freshman who had yet to hit a shot.

After a missed layup and scramble for the loose ball Toledo freshman Jaelan Sanford, who had missed both of his shot attempts from the field, wound up with the ball as the final seconds ran off the clock. No problem for Sanford, who released a three-pointer from the left wing that went down as time expired. Final score: Toledo 71, Green Bay 69.

Even though the game-winner was Sanford’s first made shot of the game he’s a more than capable scorer, as he left Reitz HS in Evansville, Indiana as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,544 points).

His shot against the Phoenix put the finishing touches on a Toledo comeback from a six-point deficit in the final two minutes and thirty seconds, with Nathan Boothe (27 points, nine rebounds and three blocks) and Jonathan Williams (26 points) leading the way offensively for Tod Kowalcyzk’s team.

Video credit: Jordan Strack/WTOL-11

Green Bay lands transfer forward from Pepperdine

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Green Bay landed a former in-state forward as Pepperdine rising junior David Jesperson transferred to the Phoenix, according to Mark Miller of the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook.

The 6-foot-8 Jesperson is from Merrill, Wisconsin and averaged 11.1 minutes per game as a sophomore. Putting up 1.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game, Jesperson shot 52 percent from the field last season, but wasn’t regularly productive in his minutes.

By playing closer to home in the Horizon League, Jesperson gets to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules and he’ll have two more years of eligibility after that. The younger brother of Northern Iowa forward Paul Jesperson, David can stretch the floor a little bit at his size and could be a useful role player in that capacity for Green Bay.

Pregame Shootaround: Horizon League heavyweights meet in Green Bay

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Cleveland State at Green Bay, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

There are just seven games on the schedule tonight, and there’s no doubt that the battle between the Vikings and Phoenix is the best matchup. Both enter the game with 10-3 records in Horizon League play, and the winner will keep alive hopes of catching 11-2 Valparaiso. That can be important, as the regular season champion gets to host the second round and semifinals with the highest remaining seed hosting the title game. Cleveland State won the first meeting January 31, holding serve at home thanks to the tandem of guard Trey Lewis and forward Anton Grady.

Lewis accounted for 25 points and 12 rebounds on that night, with Grady adding 24 points and six rebounds. Slowing those two down will be critical for Green Bay, as their production was a big reason why Cleveland State shot 56.8% from the field. Another key in that game: Gary Water’s Vikings outscored Green Bay 21-6 from the foul line. Keifer Sykes was limited to 11 points in that game, and he finished with more turnovers (two) than assists (one). That can’t be the case in the rematch.

THIS SHOULD ALSO BE GOOD: Cornell at Yale, 7:00 p.m.

Yale (7-1) is currently tied with Harvard atop the Ivy League standings, with the Crimson hosting Penn in Cambridge. Of the two opponents the first-place teams face Cornell’s the greater threat, thanks to the presence of senior forward Shonn Miller. Miller (16.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg) currently leads Cornell in both scoring and rebounding, and his matchup with Yale’s Justin Sears will be worth the price of admission. Yale was able to keep Miller in check in the first meeting, a seven-point Bulldog victory, as he scored 15 points on 6-for-20 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds.

TWO THINGS TO WATCH FOR

1. Iona looks to move one step close to another MAAC regular season title, as they visit Marist (9:00 p.m., ESPNU). The Gaels have won eight straight games, thanks to a prolific offense and improved play on the defensive end.

2. Albany dropped its first conference game of the season on Monday, but thanks to Vermont’s stunning loss at Binghamton they still lead America East by two games. The Great Danes host Hartford (7:00 p.m., ESPNU), and a win would wrap up at least a share of the regular season title.

THE REST OF FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE

  • Princeton at Dartmouth, 7:00 p.m.
  • Penn at Harvard, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Columbia at Brown, 8:00 p.m.

Pregame Shootaround: Underrated rivalry, Horizon League showdown highlights Friday slate

Green Bay v Wisconsin
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Green Bay at Valparaiso, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

The Phoenix and Crusaders meet for the second time this season, with Green Bay having held serve at home January 23 by the final score of 51-50. A key for Brian Wardle’s team on that night was their defending of Valparaiso sophomore forward Alec Peters, who finished with nine points on 4-for-11 shooting. Keeping Peters in check will once again be key for Green Bay, but in that second meeting they defended everyone well in the second half as Valparaiso shot 5-for-27 from the field. Valparaiso will need to slow down Green Bay senior guard Keifer Sykes, which they were able do in the first meeting (11 points, 4-for-17 FG). A key back in January: Green Bay shot nearly 49 percent inside of the arc, with Valparaiso making 37.5% of its two-point attempts.

DON’T MISS THIS ONE EITHER: Iona at Manhattan, 10:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Not sure this rivalry gets the attention it deserves nationally, with the two schools separated by just over nine miles, and the game rarely (if ever) lacks for entertainment. That should once again be the case tonight, with the first-place Gaels visiting the team that beat them in last year’s MAAC tournament final. While Iona’s reputation is that of a free-wheeling offensive team led by A.J. English, David Laury III and Shadrac Casimir, they enter tonight’s game with better numbers in both field goal and three-point percentage defense than Steve Masiello’s Jaspers. Veterans Emmy Andujar and Rashawn Stores are among the leaders for Manhattan, which will also look to push the pace. This is a late tip time (NBA All-Star Weekend likely has something to do with that), but it’s a game true hoops fans won’t want to miss.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

1. No. 7 Arizona looks to rebound from its loss at Arizona State last weekend, as they take on Washington in Seattle (9:00 p.m., ESPN). With the struggling Huskies lacking depth inside, it would be nice for Arizona’s sake if junior center Kaleb Tarczewski could get going. He’s struggled recently, and Arizona needs him to be effective if they’re to play deep into March/early April.

2. Two of the best teams in the MAC meet, as Kent State visits Toledo (6:00 p.m., ESPNU). After starting conference play 6-1 the Golden Flashes have lost three of their last four, with the injured Jimmy Hall missing the last three. If the Golden Flashes are to win they’ll need to slow down one of the best offenses in the MAC, with guard Juice Brown leading the way for a Toledo squad that has four double-digit scorers.

3. Albany, which is 12-0 in America East play, hits the road for a non-conference affair as they visit NJIT. Jim Engles’ Highlanders, the lone independent in Division I college basketball, are looking to add another win to what it hopes is a resume worthy of inclusion in a postseason tournament (CBI or CIT possibly).

4. Both Harvard and Yale enter tonight’s action 5-1 in Ivy League play. The Crimson host Columbia while Yale visits Penn at The Palestra. A game behind them in the loss column is 3-2 Princeton, which hosts Brown tonight and Yale tomorrow.

5. Washington State hosts Arizona State (10:00 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) in a game that will impact seeding for next month’s Pac-12 tournament. And it’s also an opportunity to watch the conference’s most improved player in Washington State sophomore forward Josh Hawkinson.

Pregame Shootaround: Horizon League showdown, No. 16 VCU headline Friday slate

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Valparaiso at Green Bay, 9:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Depending upon what happens in Cleveland State’s home game against Detroit, this could be for sole possession of first place in the Horizon League. Like the Vikings, both the Crusaders and Phoenix enter Friday with 5-1 league records, and two of the best players in the Horizon League will be on display at the Resch Center. Of course the name Keifer Sykes (Green Bay’s electric point guard) is known by now, but how about Valpo’s Alec Peters? The 6-foot-9 sophomore can score both inside and out and is averaging 17.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for Valparaiso, which is off to an 18-3 start and has won five straight games. Green Bay’s limiting opponents to 58.8 points per game, and they’ll need a similar defensive effort to keep Bryce Drew’s team in check.

THE REST OF FIRDAY’S SCHEDULE 

  • No. 16 VCU is back in action, and they’ll put their 5-0 Atlantic 10 record on the line at Saint Louis (7:00 p.m., ESPN2). Shaka Smart’s Rams have won ten straight games, with their last defeat coming at the hands of the nation’s second-best team in Virginia. Obviously turnovers, especially those of the live-ball variety, are key in games involving VCU as they’re forcing nearly 18 per game. But another area to keep an eye on is the fact that Jim Crews’ Billikens are allowing opponents to shoot nearly 46 percent from the field. If SLU isn’t better in that area, things could open up for the Rams, who have shot no better than 42.5% in five of their last six games.
  • Cleveland State hosts Detroit (7:00 p.m., ESPN3) in the other Horizon League matchup Friday night, with the Vikings having three players averaging double figures led by junior guard Trey Lewis. Detroit will counter with senior Juwan Howard Jr., who averaging 18.5 points per game for the Titans.
  • The most important of the three MAAC games on Friday’s schedule is Manhattan’s trip to Hamden, Connecticut to take on Quinnipiac (7:00 p.m., ESPNU), with the Jaspers just one game behind first-place Iona in the loss column. Keep an eye on the rebounding here, as the Jaspers are allowing opponents to rebound just over 34 percent of their misses and Quinnipiac is a very good offensive rebounding team led by seniors Ousmane Drame and Justin Harris.
  • Monmouth can move into a tie for first in the MAAC with a win over a Niagara (7:00 p.m, ESPN3) team that nearly beat Iona last Friday night. King Rice’s Hawks are limiting opponents to 39.2% shooting from the field, and guards Justin Robinson and Deon Jones combining to average just over 34 points per game.
  • Rivals Marist and Siena meet in Albany (7:00 p.m., ESPN3), with the Red Foxes still in search of their first conference win under new head coach Mike Maker. Siena’s had some issues defensively this season, but the sight of a team that’s averaging 58.2 points per game should help Jimmy Patsos’ team.

Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Kentucky defeats No. 4 Louisville

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GAME OF THE DAY: Georgetown 91, Indiana 87 (OT)

The first game of the day was its most entertaining from an offensive standpoint, as D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and the Hoyas outlasted the Hoosiers at Madison Square Garden. The Indianapolis native scored 29 points and dished out four assists and senior Aaron Bowen added 20 off the bench for the Hoyas, who are 8-3 entering Big East play. Two keys for Georgetown in the second half: Joshua Smith being on the floor after committing three fouls in the first half, and a switch to a zone defense that (comparatively speaking) made things more difficult for Indiana.

Yogi Ferrell, who hit two three-pointers in the final minute of regulation to force overtime, scored 27 points and Troy Williams added 23 to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Tom Crean’s Hoosiers are 10-3 going into Big Ten play, a record few expected them to post before the season began.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 1 Kentucky 58, Louisville 50

It wasn’t the prettiest game but the Wildcats took care of the Cardinals in Louisville, and their defense was a big reason why. Louisville shot less than 26 percent from the field Saturday afternoon, and Kentucky’s defense both inside and on the perimeter was a reason why. Tyler Ulis stepped forward for the Wildcats in his reserve role, scoring 14 points with fellow freshman Devin Booker adding nine.

2. No. 8 Gonzaga 87, BYU 80

In the WCC opener for both the Bulldogs won in Provo, with point guard Kevin Pangos and forward Kyle Wiltjer leading the way. Pangos, who’s been asked to do even more on the ball with freshman Josh Perkins out with a broken jaw, scored 21 points and dished out seven assists before fouling out with just over eight seconds remaining in the game. As for Wiltjer he scored a game-high 24 points, with teammate Byron Wesley (15 points, ten rebounds) posting a double-double and Przemek Karnowski adding nine points and ten rebounds. Tyler Haws and Anson Winder scored 17 apiece for BYU, with Kyle Collinsworth adding a triple-double with 13 points, ten rebounds and ten assists.

3. No. 24 Colorado State 58, New Mexico State 57

We nearly had two teams fall from the ranks of the unbeaten, but Larry Eustachy’s team found a way to hold off the Aggies in Las Cruces. A J.J. Avila basket in the final minute of overtime proved to be the difference as the Rams moved to 13-0 on the season, and the senior forward led CSU with 17 points. Stanton Kidd added 15 for the winners, who remain undefeated despite the fact that guard Daniel Bejarano shot 0-for-10 from the field and failed to score. Remi Barry led three Aggies in double figures with 14 points, and freshman Pascal Siakam posted his second double-double of the season with 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots.

STARRED

1. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Aaron Bowen (Georgetown)

Combined to score 49 points in the Hoyas’ 91-87 overtime win over Indiana.

2. Carrington Ward (Green Bay)

Scored a career-high 28 points on 10-for-14 shooting in the Phoenix’s 78-61 win over Georgia State.

3. Dylan Garrity (Sacramento State) 

28 points (8-for-9 FG), three rebounds and two assists in the Hornets’ 74-49 win at Utah Valley.

STRUGGLED

1. Terry Rozier and Chris Jones (Louisville)

Shot a combined 8-for-33 from the field and accounted for just one assists in the Cardinals’ 58-50 loss to No. 1 Kentucky.

2. Maine

The Black Bears shot 30.4% from the field and finished with more turnovers (20) than made field goals (17) in their 72-43 loss at Seton Hall.

NOTABLES

  • After losing 72-48 at Georgia State on December 4, Green Bay beat the Panthers 78-61 with Carrington Ward scoring a career-high 28 points. The Phoenix ended the game on a 21-3 run.
  • Dez Wells scored ten points off the bench in his return to the court as No. 15 Maryland beat Oakland, 72-56. Melo Trimble scored 17 points and Jake Layman added 15 and 12 rebounds for the Terrapins.
  • Marcus Paige led six Tar Heels in double figures with 16 points as No. 20 North Carolina defeated UAB 89-58. The Blazers knocked off UNC in Birmingham last season.
  • Brad Waldow scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help lead Saint Mary’s to a 73-60 win over Santa Clara in the WCC opener for both. Senior forward Garrett Jackson, averaging 3.6 points per game entering Saturday, added 18 points for the winners.
  • Charles Mann scored 22 points and Marcus Thornton and Kenny Gaines added 17 apiece in Georgia’s 86-77 triple overtime win over Mercer. Jordan Strawberry scored a game-high 24 for the Bears.
  • D’Angelo Russell scored 24 points and Amir Williams added 21 and seven rebounds in No. 21 Ohio State’s 100-55 win over Wright State.
  • In what could have been a letdown game for a young team in the aftermath of their win over No. 3 Arizona on Tuesday, UNLV took care of Southern Utah 79-45 in Las Vegas. Rashad Vaughn and Christian Wood combined to score 44 points, with Wood finishing with 22 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.