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Green Bay vs. Cleveland State Game Recap: Phoenix Rise Up Against Lee, Vikings

Cleveland State coach Gary Waters was not happy with his team's shoot-around prior to Saturday's game against Green Bay. He had good reason to be disappointed as the Vikings got beat up in their own gym.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

There is something called the Butterfly Effect, which goes something like this: a small little change in one place can have massive effects miles away. Usually this is attributed to something like the weather.

Saturday afternoon, there was a more linear system affected by a type of Butterfly Effect.

A miniscule stomach virus takes out 6-3 sophomore Bryn Forbes. In turn, the loss of Forbes created a mile-wide hole in the Cleveland State offense.

And that left the Vikings, a team that thought it would be playing for a share of the Horizon League lead, dead in the water against a very determined Green Bay team. The result from that microscopic virus: an 68-52 win for the Phoenix and a vice-like grip on the Horizon League title.

If Green Bay can close out against Valparaiso on Thursday night, the crown is theirs.

Without Forbes, there was no flow to the Cleveland State offense. As players looked to be bailed out inside, there was no one there to grab the ball from them. There was no one to take this team on its back. There was nothing.

It translated into a 20-point lead for the Phoenix at the under-eight timeout and the Vikings had yet to break into double digits.

Without Forbes, the Phoenix defense was allowed to collapse on Charlie Lee every time the junior tired to shake open. Lee, who had 31 against Oakland, and 25 against Wright State, didn't score until the second half. He finished with just six points.

Without Forbes, there was no outlet for Anton Grady when he was caught inside. He didn't have anyone to kick the ball to, that steady scorer was not there. Then Grady gets himself into foul trouble trying to fend off Alec Brown and Jordan Fouse inside. Things got pretty bad for the Vikings then.

Without Forbes, there was no shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range. That was the top shooting team in the country from range. And yet, the Vikings were just 5-for-23 for 21.7 percent.

About the only thing that went right for the Vikings was Trey Lewis getting a feel for his shot. The Penn State transfer scored 20 points on 6-19 shooting. He had three of the Cleveland State threes, but he also had eight of the misses from that range.

The VIkings made a late charge to try and get back into it, but that 20-point lead was too much to overcome when the Phoenix just wouldn't relinquish their hold.

Credit Keifer Sykes, who had 18 points and went 11-for-14 at the free throw line.

Credit Brown, who went for 18 points, including three 3-pointers, and added nine rebounds and two blocks.

And most of all, credit Jordan Fouse, who again had one of his underrated all-around games. He had just six points, but pulled down 11 rebounds, including four on the offensive end. He added three assists and three blocks as the Phoenix controlled the inside and kept the Vikings off the board.

Green Bay may have dropped that disappointing game against Milwaukee, a defeat that had people doubting the Phoenix resolve. But this win, even with Forbes missing for the Vikings, proved that Green Bay is back, rising like the Phoenix on its logo.