GREEN BAY, Wis. - - Belmont University men's basketball dropped a 100-92 decision at Green Bay Saturday.
The Bruins, perennially among the nation's top 3-point shooting teams, endured a 6-for-31 day from behind the arc, including 2-for-18 in the second half.
Meanwhile, Green Bay, which entered the day shooting 33 percent from 3-point distance, went 11-for-23 from long distance.
"I really felt like we were getting good looks, especially with guys we want and trust shooting the basketball, but today Green Bay made the shots and we just didn't," head coach Rick Byrd said. "But there are plenty of areas our young team needs to get better."
An uptempo, high-scoring game was expected in a meeting of two of the nation's leaders in offensive possessions per game.
And perhaps Belmont's opening possession portended a confounding game on the offensive end, as the Bruins had a pair of point-blank shots pop out of the basket.
Nevertheless, five quick points from senior All-America candidate Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.) gave Belmont a 9-4 lead three minutes in.
The shot clock operator was not needed in the racehorse affair, as a JayQuan McCloud 3-pointer put Green Bay ahead, 14-11.
More tough drives from Murphy and senior Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.) answered the Phoenix, but two straight 3-pointers from Kameron Hankerson and a ShanQuan Hemphill basket gave Green Bay a 31-22 lead with 9:03 left in the first half.
Belmont responded with an inspired 20-4 run, fueled by active defense and rebounding.
Two dunks from freshman Nick Muszynski (Pickerington, Ohio) and a McClain putback basket gave Belmont a 42-35 lead with 3:49 left in the half.
When Windler sank a wing 3-pointer, Belmont led 49-43 wth 33 seconds left in the half.
Sandy Cohen III hit a high arcing 3-pointer at the first half horn to trim the Belmont lead to 49-46 at halftime.
Belmont shot 51 percent (21-for-41) from the field in the opening 20 minutes and committed only five first half turnovers.
Consecutive driving baskets from Murphy stretched the Belmont lead back to 54-48 with 18:12 remaining.
But in a game full of momentum swings, the Bruins shouldered one moments later; Belmont went empty on two free throws that would have stretched the margin to eight points before McCloud made a twisting 3-pointer to cut the Bruin lead to 54-51 with 17:20 left.
Kameron Hankerson capped an 8-0 Green Bay response to give the hosts a 56-54 lead with 15:46 left.
The Bruins continued to punish the Phoenix inside, closing within 61-60 with 12:12 to go on a steal and score from sophomore Nick Hopkins (Fayetteville, Tenn.).
Belmont would tie on three more occasions, but a series of inexplicable rim outs around the basket and from 3-point distance kept the Bruins from stringing things together.
Meanwhile, Green Bay used positive bench production to maintain a working margin.
A lift from freshman Derek Sabin (Slinger, Wis.) preceded slams from Windler and Muszynski which tied the score at 75 with 6:44 left.
From there, the Bruins had to endure another bizarre series of events; three missed layins during a 9-0 Green Bay run.
Two PJ Pipes free throws made the score 84-75 with 4:39 remaining.
Scores from Muszynski, Murphy and Windler got Belmont wthin 84-81 with 2:58 to go, but a short McCloud jump shot and two Cohen II free throws pushed the margin back to seven.
Windler scored five quick points to answer free throws, but in a possession indicative of the game, Pipes had a contested baseline shot bound high on the rim twice and fall through to give Green Bay a 92-86 lead with 1:01 left.
All told, Belmont shot 44 percent (37-for-84) from the field. The Bruins outrebounded Green Bay, 45-42.
Windler led four Bruins in double figures with 31 points and 12 rebounds. Muszynski had 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists. McClain scored 13, while Murphy had 12 points and 10 assists.
McCloud led Green Bay (5-3) with 21 points.
Belmont (6-1) returns to game action Tuesday, Dec. 4 vs. Lipscomb. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT from the Curb Event Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and the ESPN app. The live play-by-play of Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram can be heard on the Bruin Sports Network and the Belmont Gameday app. In-game updates will be available via Twitter @BelmontMBB.
NOTES: Belmont outscored Green Bay, 63-38, in points in the paint ... Windler posted his third double-double of the season while scoring 30 points ... Sabin had one point and three rebounds playing in front of family and friends ... Murphy recorded his second career double-double ... Belmont recorded 18 offensive rebounds and 10 steals.