Green Bay came within five points with just over six minutes left in the game, but Northern Kentucky was able to pull away late and secure the 77-65 victory at the Resch Center on Saturday afternoon. The Phoenix (8-15, 3-7 HL) turned the ball over a season-high 19 times, allowing the Norse (14-6, 7-1 HL) to score 21 points off those turnovers in Horizon League action.
GB was playing its 10th Horizon League game of the season and NKU was only playing its 8th, which may or may not have had an effect on the outcome. The game was quite competitive and physical throughout, despite there only being 24 free throw attempts combined in the contest.
Khalil Small led all scorers with 17 points, and was recognized before the game with a commemorative 1,000 career points basketball. Small has now reached double-figures in 22 of 23 games this season and also grabbed eight rebounds in the game.
NKU took an early 10-1 lead to open the game and eventually led by as many as 15 points in the first half before GB cut the deficit to nine points at the half. The Norse then jumped on top of the Phoenix to open the second half, scoring the first 10 points and taking a 19-point lead just under 2 minutes into the second half.
The Phoenix was able to respond to that run by NKU, scoring 14 of the next 16 points to get within seven points at 52-45 with 13:47 left in the game. GB was within five points, its closest margin in the second half, with 6:11 to play before the Norse cruised to a 9-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Sandy Cohen III scored 15 points and Kameron Hankerson added 13 points off the bench. Green Bay is now 2-11 in games where three players or fewer score in double figures.
Green Bay tied its season-high with 11 made 3-pointers and went 8-for-10 at the free throw line.
NKU dominated inside, scoring 36 points in the paint to GB’s 18 points. The Norse had four players score in double-figures, led by Lavone Holland II with 16 points.
GB is back home for two more games next weekend, hosting Cleveland State (Jan. 25) on Thursday and Youngstown State (Jan. 27) on Saturday. The games will be part of Varsity GB and Hall of Fame weekend, with Saturday’s game serving as the annual Prevea Health Blackout Cancer Game.