St. Norbert Loses Heartbreaker in MWC Tournament

From Sports Information Director, February 29, 2008 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

APPLETON - The St. Norbert College men's basketball team saw its 2007-08 season come to and end with a tough 59-58 loss to nationally ranked Lawrence University in a Midwest Conference Tournament Semifinal at Alexander Gym.

The Green Knights end the season 14-10, while the 16th-ranked Vikings improve to 21-2. Lawrence will face Carroll for the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

St. Norbert held the lead in the final minute, forging a 57-56 advantage on an Eric Bieniasz 3-pointer with 38 seconds left. St. Norbert got a defensive stop and Bryan Fleischmann made one of two free throws with 19 seconds left.

Lawrence sharpshooter Ryan Kroeger connected on a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to give the Vikings a 59-58 lead. St. Norbert's Tony Jandron missed a jumper with three seconds left, but the Green Knights immediately fouled Lawrence's Andy Hurley. Hurley missed two free throws with 2 seconds left but Bieniasz's three-quarter court heave as time expired missed.

St. Norbert jumped out hot early, leading 12-2 five minutes into the game. Lawrence pulled ahead 22-17 with 7:21 left in the first half, but the Green Knights answered to take a 32-30 lead into halftime.

Lawrence led by as many as eight points in the second half, and held a 54-47 lead with 5:58 to go. The Vikings led 56-50 with 4:44 left before Bieniasz hit a layup with 3:20 left. Mike Dowden followed with two free throws with 2:38 left to set up the game's final dramatic moments.

Jandron led St. Norbert with 17 points, making 7 of 11 shots from the floor. Dowden added 10 points, while Bieniasz, St. Norbert's lone senior, closed out a fine career with eight points despite having his chin split open in a bloody fashion early in the game. St. Norbert made 40.7 percent of its shots, making 22 of 54 from the floor. The Green Knights stalemated with the Vikings on the glass at 32-32. St. Norbert had just seven turnovers.

Hurley led Lawrence with 20 points, while Kroeger had 13 points. Lawrence shot 46.8 percent from the floor but was just 4-for-20 from beyond the three-point arc.