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Green Bay survives a defensive battle 51-50 over Valparaiso with conference top spot at stake


ASHWAUBENON, Wisconsin — Alfonzo McKinnie and Keifer Sykes scored 11 each and Green Bay beat Valparaiso 51-50 on Friday to grab a share of first place in the Horizon League.

Green Bay (17-4, 6-1), which is tied with Cleveland State, trailed 34-32 entering the second half when the game turned into a defensive battle. The Phoenix had seven blocked shots in the first seven minutes of the second and both teams went without a field goal for a six-minute stretch.

Valparaiso (18-4, 5-2) was just 5-of-27 shooting in the second half but took the lead at 48-47 with 2:56 left. The teams traded the lead three more times, the last on Greg Mays' runner with 1:43 left to cap the scoring.

Green Bay missed the front end of two 1-and-1s in the final 31 seconds, but Valpo couldn't capitalize.

E. Victor Nickerson had 10 points and Tevonn Walker had 13 rebounds to lead the Crusaders, who had been 16-0 this year when leading at the break.

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