Horizon League Men's Basketball Player of the Week Release (Nov. 18, 2013)
INDIANAPOLIS -- Green Bay junior guard Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill./Marshall) and Milwaukee junior guard Steve McWhorter [Racine, Wis./St. Catherine’s (Indiana State)] have been named the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Co-Players of the Week, while Oakland freshman guard Kahlil Felder (Detroit, Mich./Pershing) has been named the Freshman of the Week, for the week of Nov. 12-18. The award is the fifth of Sykes’ career and the first for both McWhorter and Felder.
Milwaukee (4-1) went 4-0 on the week, opening with an 81-77 win at Davidson before sweeping the Northern Illinois Invitational with victories over San Jose State (64-61), James Madison (77-66) and the host Huskies (82-69). Green Bay (1-1) hosted No. 20/19 Wisconsin and had a look to tie before falling, 69-66, while Oakland (0-4) went 0-3 on its trip to the west coast, falling at No. 24/24 UCLA (91-60), No. --/rv California (64-60) and No. 15/15 Gonzaga (82-67).
McWhorter directed an efficient Milwaukee offense, posting a 2.25:1 assist-to-turnover ratio while averaging 11.5 points per game and shooting 18-for-32 from the floor. The junior helped spur the Panthers’ comeback from an 11-point deficit at Davidson, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including the go-ahead layup with 3:10 to play.
At the NIU Invitational, McWhorter handed out five assists to go along with 12 points in the win over SJSU before dishing out six assists the following evening. On Sunday, with the Panthers needing a win to claim the championship, McWhorter scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half when three starters were out due to foul trouble.
In front of a sold out Resch Center, Sykes put Green Bay on his back, scoring a career-high 32 points against the nationally-ranked Badgers. Going 13-of-26 from the field, Sykes eclipsed 30 points for the fourth time in his career and second time in his last four games. The junior’s attempt to tie the game in the final second came up just short of forcing overtime.
With five career player of the week awards, Sykes is now tied for 12th all time in League history. The total also matches the Green Bay program record, set by Jeff Nordgaard.
Felder opened his three-game stretch with 10 points at No. 24/24 UCLA before playing all 40 minutes in each of Oakland’s next two games. At Cal, Felder finished with 13 points and three assists as the Golden Grizzlies narrowly fell by four. At Gonzaga, Felder posted a career-best seven assists, adding seven points.
Milwaukee will host DePaul in its home opener on Tuesday, Nov. 19, with HLN coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The Panthers will wrap the week at Tennessee Tech on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m. ET. Green Bay will be off until Saturday, when the Phoenix host Minnesota-Duluth at 8 p.m. ET, live on HLN. Oakland will compete in the Mainland edition of the Maui Invitational on Nov. 23-24, taking on Louisiana at 6:30 p.m. ET before playing either Coastal Carolina or St. Francis (N.Y.) the following day.
Top Performers for the Week: