According to Green Bay head coach Linc Darner, when its postseason tournament time you need unsung heroes to emerge.
“Normally to win the conference tournament you’ve got to have one or two guys that maybe haven’t played as well as they were hoping and then they get in the conference tournament and they have a great run,” he told Bill Michaels prior to Tuesday night’s game against UIC. “Or somebody that’s maybe struggled to shoot the ball a little bit hits three or four threes in a game and that’s probably what you’re going to need to win a game like this.”
That’s exactly what happened in Green Bay’s 82-77 victory over UIC in the Horizon League Tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday night.
The Phoenix got plenty of production from their normal contributors – 21 points from Sandy Cohen, 19 points from JayQuan McCloud, 12 points from Tank Hemphill – but the x-factor was 6’7” sophomore Trevian Bell.
Bell entered the game averaging 4.6 points in 13.1 minutes per game while shooting 27.1% (13/48) from beyond the arc this season but went off for a career high-tying 15 points Tuesday night thanks in large part to three clutch three pointers when the Phoenix needed a boost to offset the Flames hot shooting.
“Tre Bell stepped up,” assistant coach Ben Swank said after the game on WDUZ radio. “That was one guy they were going off of.”
“The other guys have to step up when they’re doubling Sandy because somebody’s going to be open.”
He had only reached double figures in scoring three times in 29 games against Division I opponents during the regular season and was averaging 3.7 points in 13.2 minutes per game over the final six games of the season before his 15-point outburst on Tuesday night. He also chipped in 4 rebounds and a steal in 24 minutes of action.
Fellow sophomore PJ Pipes also contributed 27 solid minutes off the bench scoring 7 points and grabbing 6 rebounds in the victory.
“That’s something that we talk about as a staff each year going into the playoffs, to win in the postseason you usually need somebody…step up and have a big game and you can see it right here with Tre,” Swank said.
Green Bay now moves on to the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament and will face #1 seed Wright State at Little Caesers Arena in Detroit on Monday night. It is the final year of the neutral court tournament in Detroit.
The Phoenix have had a mixed bag of success at Motor City Madness, winning the tournament in 2016 and losing in the quarterfinals in 2017 and 2018.
Green Bay will look to find one more magical March run in Detroit at the state-of-the-art home of the Pistons and Red Wings.
“That is a great venue, it’s going to be a great experience for our guys,” Swank said, “It’s an unbelievable arena.”
“We’re excited to be going to Detroit.”
Categories: Game Recap