Phoenix men fall at Belmont

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) --- The Green Bay men’s basketball team held a seven-point lead at halftime at the Curb Event Center in Nashville on Saturday afternoon, but Belmont scored 51 points in the second half and the Phoenix fell 86-75. GB (2-4) racked up a season-high 12 steals and hit a season-high 10 3s, but the Bruins (5-4) made 12 3s of their own and shot 49.2 percent (29-for-59) from the field.

It was a tail of two halves in Nashville, as the visiting Phoenix led 42-35 at the midway point after shooting 45.7 percent (16-for-35) in the first 20 minutes. GB led by as many as 8 points in the first half and actually led for the majority of the game, leading for over 18 minutes of action.

Belmont opened the second half on an 14-3 run, and hit 8 3s over the course of the second half to keep control after gaining the lead for good after an and-one going into the under-8 minute media timeout. GB only trailed by two at 76-74 after TJ Parham knocked down a 3 with 3:01 to play, but Belmont would finish the game on an 10-1 run thanks to a pair of 3s and four made free throws.

Senior David Jesperson scored a career-high 16 points on four made 3-pointers in 30 minutes of action. Jesperson had 8 points in each half and also went 4-for-4 at the free throw line. Fellow-senior Khalil Small added 13 points, seven assists and a career-high 5 steals. Small has now reached double-figures in all six games this year.

GB came into the game averaging 5.6 steals per game, and tallied a season-high 12 against the Bruins. Parham was responsible for four of those steals, staying active defensively while also grabbing seven rebounds and scoring 11 points.

Kameron Hankerson finished one-point shy of his career-high, notching 16 points on a career-high 7-for-13 shooting from the field. Hankerson also grabbed a career-high seven rebounds and played in 34 minutes, the most in any game of his career.

GB did force Belmont into 16 turnovers, their second highest total of the season, but only turned those turnovers into 18 points. The Bruins however, turned 15 Phoenix turnovers into 18 points.

Belmont was led by Amanze Egekeze with 21 points and Dylan Winder with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The Phoenix will square off with another OVC opponent next Wednesday, Dec. 6, when it plays host to Eastern Illinois. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Resch Center.