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Ivory, Tucker help Green Bay snap seven-game skid

By Murray Gleffe

GREEN BAY – It was six weeks to the day since the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay men’s basketball team’s last victory over Robert Morris.

On Jan. 13, the Phoenix put it all together for a 69-54 Horizon League victory over IUPUI in at the Resch Center.

“I can’t put into words how proud I am of these guys,” Green Bay Head Coach Will Ryan said. “To fight through the adversity we’ve gone through. We haven’t had a normal practice since Christmas break started. I don’t know how many teams throughout the NCAA have won with seven guys.”

The Phoenix were without the services of leading scorer Manny Ansong, Ryan Claflin, Nate Jenkins, Mitch Listau and Tutu Majok.

The five are either in COVID-19 protocol or injured.

Donovan Ivory led Green Bay with 19 points, and Randy Tucker added 17 points and eight rebounds.

Green Bay (3-12 overall, 2-4 Horizon) shot 40.4% from the floor, but more importantly, hit 21-of-26 free throws.

Despite entering the game averaging less than 52 points a game (worst in the nation), IUPUI connected on four triples to take an early 14-10 lead.

With only eight players in uniform and a tight rotation, the Phoenix used the inside presence of Cade Meyer and the outside shooting of Ivory to go on an 18-4 spurt to seize a 28-18 lead with 3:09 remaining in the first half.

“It was exciting to be back on the court,” Ivory said. “I don’t like missing games. The time I was away I spent in the gym. I needed to get in the flow and get my conditioning back.”

IUPUI (1-13, 0-5) continued to keep things interesting as Nathan McClure and B.J. Maxwell continued to bomb away from beyond the arc to trim the lead to 34-26 at intermission.

The Jaguars hung around to start the second half, cutting the lead to 48-43 with about 11 minutes left after Azariah Seay nailed a midrange jumper.

It would be the closest IUPUI got the rest of the way.

Later, Green Bay Southwest graduate Lucas Stieber nailed a triple from the left wing, and then Ivory made an improbable 30-footer that banked off the glass as the shot clock was expiring.

The 3-pointer extended Green Bay’s margin to 56-45 with 7:08 remaining.

With 3:45 left, starting point guard Kamari McGee took a hard spill to the floor but was able to walk off on his own power.

Down the stretch, behind the impressive play of Tucker, the Phoenix took their biggest lead of the night (16 points).

“(Tucker) finding the bottom of the net and helping us on the boards was impressive,” Ryan said. “To see his face light up when a shot went in is why I coach. When you see kids succeed and get over the hump, you appreciate it.”

Green Bay entertains the University of Illinois-Chicago at 6 p.m. Jan. 15.

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