GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Horizon League regular season championship is now in the hands of Cleveland State, after Green Bay hung on for a thrilling 81-80 victory over visiting Valparaiso on senior night at the Resch Center.
Valparaiso’s (20-9, 11-5 Horizon) loss puts Cleveland State (23-6, 12-4 Horzion) atop the League standings by a half-game game over Butler (20-9, 12-5 Horizon) and a full game over the Crusaders and Milwaukee (16-12, 11-5 Horizon).
Cleveland State will host the Panthers on Thursday for control of the conference’s top seed in the Horizon League Tournament; the winner comes away with the inside track on hosting the event.
Still, the stage was not set until senior Bryquis Perine left a lasting impression on the Green Bay (13-16, 7-9 Horizon) fans, hitting a game-winning jumper with 11 seconds left in overtime to lead his Phoenix squad to a victory that had a bit of everything.
The Phoenix jumped out to a 16-point first half lead, only to see the Crusaders come back and knot the contest on a pretty slip pass to Michael Rogers to force overtime.
Perine scored seven points in overtime, the last coming after he split a pair of free throws that would have knotted the game. With Valpo seemingly poised to grab the rebound and force Green Bay to foul, the Crusaders fell on the attempt and were called for traveling.
Given a new chance at the lead, Perine delivered, knocking down a pull-up jumper from the right side with 11 ticks left to create the game’s final score.
Valparaiso had one last chance from Brandon Wood, but his baseline jumper was contested by several Phoenix and did not fall.
Perine finished it for the Phoenix, hitting eight of his last 11 shots from the field to finish with 20 points, but Brown gave the Phoenix a lift as the hosts built a 16-point lead in the opening half. The 7-foot-1 freshman had 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots in the opening half, helping Green Bay to a 41-33 halftime lead.
Brown finished with a career-high 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting and hit all eight of his free throws. He added a career-high 12 rebounds and two blocks.
Junior Jarvis Williams had 14 points, including 10 in the opening half, and senior Rahmon Fletcher added 13 points, five rebounds and five assists to give the Phoenix four players in double figures.
Wood matched teammate Ryan Broekhoff’s effort with 20 points.