Phoenix MBB season ends with HL Tourney loss to Wright State

DETROIT, Mich. ( --- Despite a career-high 34 points from senior Khalil Small, the No. 7 seed Green Bay fell 87-72 to No. 2 seed Wright State in the 2018 Little Caesars Horizon League Championship Quarterfinals on Saturday evening at Little Caesars Arena. The Phoenix (13-20) started off cold and was unable to overcome an early deficit, ending its 2017-18 season and the successful careers of seniors Small and David Jesperson.

Small certainly came up big in what will be his final collegiate game, scoring 34 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for his second-straight double-double and fifth total this season. The Chicago-native finishes his career with 1,335 career points, which ranks 13th all-time in program history.

He finishes his senior campaign with 602 points, the eighth-most points scored in any single season in program history. Small shot 10-for-18 from the field and went a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line, giving him 147 made free throws this season, the fifth-most in a single season in program history as well.

Green Bay battled foul trouble all game against a physical Wright State (23-9) team and had three players foul out by the end of the night. Also playing in his final career game, Jesperson scored five points before fouling out and finishing the season with 54 made 3-pointers, the second-most on the team behind Small.

Sandy Cohen III was held to just two points before fouling out, while Kameron Hankerson finished with five points a day after netting a career-high 36 points. The two were held to just 3-for-15 shooting combined.

PJ Pipes was the only other Phoenix player in double-figures, finishing with 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting before injuring himself late in the game. The injury is not serious and Pipes was held out merely as a precaution.

GB fell behind 11-0 to start the game, missing its first nine shots. WSU eventually took a 37-21 lead into the half, before both teams went on to score a combined 101 points in the second half alone.

After shooting over 50 percent in three-straight games, GB finished 24-for-57 (42.1 percent) from the field and made only 9-of-23 3-point attempts. The Phoenix had made 11 or more 3s in six-straight games coming in.

Wright State led by as many as 21 points in the game and never trailed, leading for over 38 minutes. GB did continue to battle back in the second half, but couldn’t get any close than 12 points down the stretch.

The team will say goodbye to Khalil Small and David Jesperson, who both started in all 33 games this season. It will have to replace its leading scorer in Small and its fourth-leading scorer in Jesperson, but returns a host of young talent and will welcome back experienced upperclassmen Sandy Cohen III and Kameron Hankerson, both of whom averaged in double-figures this season.