A big part of the reason why Green Bay was able to end a string of 5 losses in 6 games was a career high 16 points from junior Josh McNair on Friday night.
The 6’6” forward also chipped in 3 rebounds and 2 steals in his 23 minutes of action while playing stifling defense in the Phoenix 90-74 victory over in-state rival Milwaukee at the Kress Center.
It is just the latest solid performance since McNair has joined the starting lineup a few weeks ago on January 19th against UIC.
“He’s doing exactly what we ask of him,” assistant coach Ben Swank told Brian Kuklinski on the WDUZ post-game show following the win against Milwaukee. “He was able to get some easy buckets tonight which really helped us out. Josh is playing great for us.”
In his 17 appearances prior to joining the starting lineup, McNair was averaging 3.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 0.6 steals in 11.6 minutes per game while shooting 49.1% from the floor. He also did not appear at all in the first match-up against Milwaukee on December 28 or in the comeback win against Youngstown State on January 3rd.
But in the past four games he boosted his production in a big way scoring 10.8 points while adding 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 assists in 27.0 minutes per game. He is also shooting a staggering 72.0% from the floor.
McNair’s biggest contribution may be at the defensive end, however. Green Bay has been looking for players to step up on the defensive end after a brutal first half of the conference season saw the Phoenix rank at the bottom in the league in almost every defensive statistical category.
“He’s guarding, a lot of times, the other team’s best player and maybe their point guard,” Swank said. “He’s probably our best on-ball defender because he’s got such quick feet.”
Milwaukee’s 74 points on Friday night was the second lowest total the Phoenix have allowed a Division I opponent to score this season with Morehead State’s 70 being the only lower total back on November 17th.
McNair and Green Bay (5-5) will look to build on the momentum from the UWM victory next week with a two game road trip to Horizon League cellar-dwellers Cleveland State (1-9) on Thursday and Youngstown State (3-7) on Saturday.
Categories: News and Notes