Senior Khalil Small converted two clutch free throws with four seconds left to help Green Bay upset league-favorite Oakland on Saturday afternoon at the Resch Center, 80-79, starting off Horizon League play with a 2-0 record for the fifth-straight season and third-straight under head coach Linc Darner.
With Green Bay leading 78-76 with 4 seconds on the clock, Small grabbed the missed 3-pointer by Jalen Hayes and was subsequently fouled. The team captain then toed the free throw line and buried both free throws, making it a two possession game and essentially securing the win. Nunn hit a 3-pointer as time expired to end the game, finishing with a game-high 33 points, but the shot didn’t make a difference.
Small held Nunn to just 3-for-11 shooting and 1-for-8 from 3 in the first half, before getting in foul trouble and forcing other GB players to guard him. Nunn entered the game averaging 24.6 PPG this season. Oakland finished with 12 made 3s, but needed 33 attempts to make them.
The Chicago-native scored 15 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, also recording 4 assists. Small has now scored 10-plus points in all 15 games this season, the most double-digit scoring games among all Horizon League players.
The Phoenix (7-8, 2-0 HL) tied its season-high with 11 made 3s, 3 each by both Hankerson and David Jesperson. Hankerson scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Jesperson is now averaging 12 PPG in Horizon League play after scoring 11 on Thursday.
All five starters scored in double-figures for the Phoenix, with Sandy Cohen III finishing with his first career double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Cohen III also had 3 steals and 3 blocks, dishing out 4 assists and finishing a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
Cohen III has now scored in double-figures in all four games he’s played, and slammed home a pair of dunks to help keep momentum on his team’s side.
Green Bay led by as many as 13 points in both the first and second half, and led for the entire game up until the 9:15 mark of the second half, when Hayes knocked down a jumper. All told, GB led for 34:16 and only trailed for 3:34.
There were 8 lead changes in the second half alone, and GB never trailed by more than 2 points.
The Phoenix made 7 3-pointers in the first half, and led 41-35 at the break. GB was able to ice the game at the free throw line, finishing 15-for-17 in the game.
Freshman PJ Pipes finished with 10 points, including a key drive late in the game. Pipes has now scored in double-figures in six-straight games.
Green Bay is now 5-0 when scoring 80 or more points and is also 4-0 when 5 players score in double-figures.
The Phoenix has two days to rest before welcoming the newest Horizon League-member to the Resch Center on Tuesday night (Jan. 2). GB will host IUPUI at 7 p.m. looking for another 3-0 start in HL play.