If you told Linc Darner that his team was going to force Texas A&M to commit 20 turnovers, I think he'd be more than happy to take his chances with that knowledge.
Unfortunately for the Phoenix, they committed 18 of their own and were outrebounded by 20. The Aggies were content playing at the faster pace that Green Bay prefers and they beat them at their own game, winning 92-65.
Nine minutes in, it looked like we just might have another upset on our hands to add to the banner day for so many in mid-major land. After trailing by four early, the Phoenix went on a 12-0 run using a flurry of steals to take a 22-14 lead with 10:56 left in the first half. Green Bay managed to keep the Aggies at bay for a while, but the offense went cold and A&M went on an 11-2 run over the last five minutes to take an eight-point advantage in to the break.
It felt like halftime came at the right time for the Horizon League tournament champions, but the last five minutes of the first half turned out to be more than just a run. It was an indicator of what was about to happen over the last 20 minutes. The Phoenix never got closer than six the rest of the way.
I mentioned in the preview that Green Bay would need big games from their Big Three of Carrington Love, Charles Cooper, and Jordan Fouse. The trio would combine for only eight points total, or about 36 points short of their usual. Sophomore guard Khalil Small was the biggest bright spot for the Phoenix. He finished with a career high 22 points on just ten field goal attempts. Jamar Hurdle chipped in 11, but all of them came in the first half.
It certainly wasn't the end everyone in and around the Green Bay program was hoping for, but it's still a season worth celebrating. They hadn't won a conference championship or been to the NCAA Tournament in 20 years. That streak is now over and they did it in a season where they were working with a new head coach and replacing one of - if not the - greatest players in program history.
Love and Fouse have both exercised all of their eligibility, but everyone else will return next year, or I should say is able to return with the way the transfer market is these days. Many of the other top teams in the Horizon will be in a similar situation, but there's no reason to count out the Phoenix for another run at a league championship again next season.