Ansong, Jefferson lead Phoenix to victory
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY — The Green Bay men’s basketball team started the game with one field goal and four turnovers.
Enter Emmanuel Ansong and Josh Jefferson, and suddenly, the Phoenix took off and never looked back.
The two combined for 34 points and 12 rebounds, as Green Bay defeated Purdue Fort Wayne 77-59 in a Horizon League game Jan. 22 at the Kress Events Center.
“This is our most complete win of the season,” said Will Ryan, Green Bay head coach. “From the opening tip, we were the aggressor. We did a good job with our ball-screen defense and took away lots of their offensive stuff in the first half. We also got lots of deflections, which was huge.”
PJ Pipes chipped in 13 points for the Phoenix.
Green Bay (4-11 overall, 4-7 Horizon League) shot 49.2 percent from the floor and held the Mastodons (6-6, 5-6) to 43.1 percent shooting.
More importantly, Purdue Fort Wayne connected on only 4-of-18 3-pointers.
Jalon Pipkins led the Mastodons with 11 points, but leading scorer Jarred Godfrey, who came into the contest averaging almost 19 points per game, was held to six.
Both teams combined for 40 turnovers.
The Phoenix trailed 6-2 after the first media timeout, but went on a 17-point spurt to go up 23-10 with 7:14 left in the half.
Much of the run was done by Jefferson, who ripped the net with his deadly shooting, and Ansong, who grabbed four offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive.
“The last couple of games, I’ve improved my play,” said Ansong. “I can definitely play at this (Division I) level. I come off the bench and help the team any way I can. It’s my job.”
Green Bay built its biggest lead of the half, 35-19, after Terrance Thompson hit two free throws.
With a 13-point lead (35-22) entering the second half, the Phoenix extended it to 45-22 after a two-hand dunk by Thompson and corner triple by Ansong.
Purdue Fort Wayne whittled the lead to 45-32 with 10 quick points, but it was erased after the Phoenix scored nine of the next eleven points.
Green Bay pushed its lead to as many as 23 points with under seven minutes left.
Down the stretch, with the lead firmly in hand, the only thing left was to see if Ansong could get the double-double.
A couple of missed shots by Purdue Fort Wayne in the final minute led to Phoenix rebounds, but Ansong couldn’t corral one.
“I didn’t even know I was close,” said Ansong. “Coach Ryan kept me in the game and told me to try and get a board however you can. It didn’t go my way, so whatever. All is good.”
Green Bay takes on Purdue Fort Wayne at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, as part of the second game of the doubleheader.
The Phoenix travel to league-leading Cleveland State Jan. 29-30.
Purdue Fort Wayne: 22, 37 — 59
Green Bay: 35, 42 — 77
Mastodons: Pipkins 11, Walker 10, Planutis 8, Horton 7, Godfrey 6, Billups 6, Carl 5, Benford 2, Black 2, Kpedi 2.
Phoenix: Ansong 18, Jefferson 16, Pipes 13, Davis 8 Thompson 7, Kellogg III 4, Taylor 4, Stieber 3, Claflin 2, Schaefer 2.