DETROIT – Ninth-seeded Cleveland State sliced a double-digit second half deficit to three points, but fourth-seeded Green Bay used a strong finish to defeat the Vikings, 65-53, in the first round of the Little Caesars Horizon League Championship on Saturday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.
Demonte Flannigan led the Vikings with 15 points and six rebounds, while Rob Edwards added 12 points and seven rebounds. Andre Yates tallied 10 points, while Jibri Blount finished with seven points.
Jordan Fouse paced the Phoenix with 18 points, while Charles Cooper had 15 points and seven boards.
“Our defense kept us in this game,” head coach Gary Waters said. “We held them to 36-percent and forced 18 turnovers. But our 27 turnovers were the difference of the game.”
CSU used a quick start to take a 15-11 lead eight minutes in, but eight straight points from the Phoenix allowed Green Bay to take a 19-15 lead with 7:25 to play in the half. The lead would reach as many as eight points, but a short jumper from Kenny Carpenter to close the half cut the Phoenix lead to 30-26 at the intermission.
Green Bay opened the second half by scoring eight of the first nine points to take a 38-27 lead five minutes in and pushed the advantage to 45-31 with 13:17 to play.
However, the Vikings slowly plugged away, cutting the deficit to three points (50-47) on a Yates three-pointer with just over seven minutes left.
The Phoenix lead was still three points (56-53) after a Carpenter free throw with 3:10 left, but Green Bay closed the game by scoring the final nine points to claim the win.
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