Green Bay and host Stanford will look to turn their seasons around when they meet Friday night for the first time since an entertaining nonconference affair seven years ago.
Green Bay (2-9) dropped its first seven games this season, won two of three, then got back on the losing track when the Phoenix were dealt an 82-61 drubbing at St. Thomas of Minnesota on Tuesday.
They will make a two-game swing through the West Coast, visiting Oregon State on Sunday before returning to Horizon League play, where they split games against Milwaukee and IUPUI earlier this month.
Stanford (3-6) lost three in a row after a 3-3 start. The Cardinal are coming off consecutive defeats to UCLA and Arizona State to tip off Pac-12 Conference play.
The last time the Phoenix and Cardinal met, Stanford needed overtime for a 93-89 victory in the 2015-16 season opener. Green Bay used the loss as a springboard to its most recent trip to the NCAA Tournament that March, while the Cardinal haven’t been back since 2014, going 115-111 overall since beating the Phoenix.
Green Bay hasn’t scored more than 70 points in any game this season and has been held in the 40s twice.
Phoenix coach Will Ryan knew the season would be a work in progress with nine new players, including six transfers, replacing nine others who either graduated or left the program.
“I think, knock on wood, we’ve hit a home run with most of the (new) kids because they truly, genuinely love the game of basketball,” Ryan said. “They’re hungry. Being humble and hungry, I think can take us pretty far.”
Cade Meyer, one of Green Bay’s holdovers from last season, has scored 25 and 24 points in the last two games.
Stanford has three players scoring in double figures this season, including Spencer Jones and Michael Jones, at 11.9 and 10.4 points respectively. The latter, a graduate transfer from Davidson, scored 31 points in the season opener against Pacific but has leveled out since.
“I think (it’s) really important to stick to the process,” Michael Jones said after a win over Cal Poly last month. “When you get in a game, high-pressure game, you fall back on your highest level of training. So just trust myself, keep my confidence up and keep moving forward.”
–Field Level Media