Senior Khalil Small scored his 1,000th career point on the same night he scored a career-high 30 points against Cleveland State on Thursday evening, but Green Bay would come up one-point short in the 80-79 defeat at the Wolstein Center. The Phoenix (7-10, 2-2 HL) led for just over 30 minutes throughout the duration of the game, but the Vikings (4-11, 1-1 HL) were able to block Kameron Hankerson’s jumper at the buzzer and the ball fell well short as the horn sounded.
Small scored his 1,000th career point after he registered his 11th point of the game on a driving layup, which he was fouled on for the and-one. He becomes the 28th player in program history to score 1,000 points, and the first since Jordan Fouse reached that plateau during his senior season of the 2015-16 campaign.
While the milestone is an impressive one, Small would have wanted the victory over CSU much more. Instead, Green Bay dropped its second-straight Horizon League game after starting the HL season 2-0.
The Chicago-native scored 30 points on the night, besting his previous career-high of 29 points set earlier this year. Small finished 12-for-19 from the field and one rebound shy of a double-double, hitting on 3 of 7 3-point attempts. Small appeared to be set up to take the last shot for the win, but CSU smothered him and he was forced to kick the ball out to Hankerson on the wing with the clock nearing 00:00.
Green Bay led for all but 1:32 in the first half, and never trailed. It opened up an 11-2 lead and Hankerson connected on a floater in the lane at the buzzer to give the Phoenix a 41-36 advantage at the half.
Cleveland State finally took its first lead with a dunk by Evan Clayborne with 7:47 left in the game, but David Jesperson promptly responded with a 3-pointer. The two teams played back-and-forth for the next five minutes of play.
After CSU scored with 1:32 left to take a 78-76 lead, Sukhjot Bains grabbed an offensive rebound on the Hunter Crist missed 3 and was fouled. Unfortunately, Bains missed both free throws with a chance to tie it, and CSU converted a layup on an offensive rebound the next possession to go up by 4 and two possessions with 51 seconds left.
Small finished an and-one free throw to cut the deficit to 80-79, notching his 30th point, and Hankerson got the block on the other end to give the Phoenix the ball back with just over 10 seconds left. In the end, GB was unable to hit the game-winner and pick up its first road win of the season.
Hankerson scored 14 points and Jesperson added 10 points as the other players in double-figures for Green Bay. PJ Pipes (8 points) and Sandy Cohen III (4 points) both fouled out in the game, and had their double-digit scoring streaks come to end as well.
GB shot 47.5 percent (28-for-59) from the field, but made just 12 of its 21 free throw attempts (57.1 percent). On the other end, Cleveland State was held to 5-for-21 (23.8 percent) from 3-point range, but finished 19-for-24 at the charity stripe (79.2 percent).
The Vikings were led by Kenny Carpenter with 20 points and had three other players in double-figures as well.
Green Bay continues its pro-like schedule, remaining in Ohio for a trip to Youngstown State (Jan. 6) on Saturday evening. Tip-off against the Penguins will be at 6 p.m. CT as the Phoenix looks to bounce back in league play.