Wisconsin-Green Bay is going dancing in Linc Darner's first season as head coach. The Phoenix dismantled Wright State, 78-69, Tuesday in the Horizon League final to punch their first ticket to the NCAA Tournament since 1996.
Green Bay carried a 42-30 lead out of halftime, and on Jordan Fouse's team-high 16 points and eight rebounds, the Phoenix held off Wright State's last-dash foul spree in the closing minutes to seal the win. Despite Wright State grabbing 13 offensive rebounds to Green Bay's seven, the Raiders' were doomed by a poor shooting night, connecting on just 27-of-71 field goal attempts as a team.
The difference Tuesday came by way of Green Bay distributing scoring duties more evenly among their starters: Fouse and Charles Cooper contributed 16 points apiece, while Kenneth Lowe handed in 12, and Khalil Small and Carrington Love offered 10 each. Wright State, on the other hand, managed to have just two players hit double digit scoring, with Michael Karena and Joe Thomasson turning in 14 and 13 points, respectively. Karena, who averages 9.8 points per game, earned a late technical foul after letting fly with an audible expletive that sent him to the bench for the final five minutes of the game.
Green Bay has traveled to the dance just four times before, earning all those bids between 1991 and 1996. Darner has had postseason success before, coaching Florida Southern to a Division II title last season.