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Green Bay basketball blitzed by Youngstown State

By Murray Gleffe

GREEN BAY – The UW-Green Bay men’s basketball team surrendered a 20-2 run to start the second half en route to an 82-58 Horizon League defeat to Youngstown State Dec. 4 at the Kress Events Center.

“I told them I wasn’t happy,” Green Bay Head Coach Will Ryan Green Bay said. “I thought we disrespected the game today. We looked out of sorts when we got into some early foul trouble. We let (Youngstown’s Michael) Akuchie do whatever he wanted in the first half. We were a step slow today. I don’t know if it was something they ate or something I said in the pregame talk. (Youngstown) threw the first punch and kept punching.”

The Phoenix shot 41.3% from the floor but let the Penguins hit 15-of-24 shots in the second half and 53.6% for the game.

Manny Ansong led Green Bay with 13 points.

Mitch Listau and Kamari McGee came off the bench to contribute eight points apiece.

Youngstown (4-3 overall, 2-0 Horizon League) put four into double figures with Tevin Olison’s 20 points leading the way.

Only one Phoenix player played more than 22 minutes, as all 13 players suited up saw action.

Kaukauna graduate Donovan Ivory got Green Bay (2-6, 1-1) going early with a baseline one-hand jam for a 6-4 lead.

However, as the first half wore on, Akuchie and Jamir Thomas flexed their muscles in the paint.

With the Penguins up 20-15, Ivory was issued a Class A technical foul for his involvement in an altercation, as Olison connected on the pair of free throws.

“I wasn’t happy with (Ivory’s) second technical foul of the year,” Ryan said. “He got into a tussle with one of their guys. I don’t know if (Ivory) was mentally with us tonight. We’re trying to help him channel his (emotion) better. It’s great to play with passion. The way he responded isn’t how I want our guys to play.”

On the subsequent possession, Dwayne Cohill hit a mid-range jumper to give Youngstown its biggest lead of the game at 24-15.

Ryan went deeper into his bench to try and find an answer on the defensive end but to no avail.

With about three minutes remaining until half, Ansong hit a spinning floater and followed that up with a steal and bucket to trim the visitors’ lead to 32-30.

The Penguins scored eight of the last nine points of the half to take a 40-31 lead into intermission.

They carried that energy into the second half to go up 60-33 with 12:23 remaining.

“They say the first four minutes of the second half can be a huge or deciding factor of a game,” Ryan said. “After the run, it felt like everything they threw up there was going in.”

The only field goal Green Bay managed during the run was a tough 18-foot fadeaway by Ansong as the shot clock was expiring.

With about seven minutes remaining, Ryan saw how Nate Jenkins, Tutu Majok and Blayton Williams handled playing extended minutes for the first time in several games.

“I was trying to cycle as many guys through to see if we could get something going,” Ryan said. “We had mental mistakes, and I wanted to see a jumpstart in energy. (Youngstown) came out as the aggressor, and we shied away. We have lots to learn from this one.”

The Phoenix have to pick themselves up after the lopsided loss as they hit the road for five straight games starting with Kansas City and ending with Wright State New Year’s Day.

Green Bay is back home at the Resch Center Jan. 5 when they host archrival UW-Milwaukee in a 7 p.m. tip.

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