St. Norbert Pulls Out Overtime Road Win at Grinnell

From Sports Information Director, December 7, 2013 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

GRINNELL, Iowa - St. Norbert College rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to force overtime and went on to claim a pulsating 121-115 Midwest Conference win over Grinnell College in front of an overflow crowd of 1,423 at Darby Gym, snapping a four-game losing streak at the Pioneers' home court.

St. Norbert (4-1, 2-0 MWC), ranked No. 18 in the D3hoops.com Top 25, trailed 111-110 with 1:24 remaining in overtime, but Austin Elliott's two free throws with 55 seconds left put the Green Knights ahead for good. St. Norbert was 9-for-10 at the free-throw line in one stretch to build a 121-112 lead with 12 seconds left to key an 11-1 run.

The Green Knights, now 2-6 at Darby Gym in Gary Grzesk's eight-year coaching tenure, trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half and were down 74-64 with 14:03 left in regulation. St. Norbert charged back with an 11-0 run started by a pair of Steven Hofacker baskets and a hoop by Bryan Dalton. Kam Cerroni drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 74-71, and Dalton scored again at 12:09 to pull within one. Brandon Gries' jumper with 11:44 remaining put the Green Knights ahead 75-74, their first lead since a 10-9 edge in the game's early going.

Grinnell (6-1, 3-1 MWC) came again, holding three four-point leads down the stretch in regulation, the latter at 99-95 with 2:25 left. Cerroni connected on a 3-pointer moments later to bring the Green Knights to within 99-98. Grinnell missed four shots and had a turnover on its final five possessions, while St. Norbert was only able to make 1 of 4 free throws in the final 2:15. But Elliott's charity toss with 1:47 left was enough to knot the score at 99-99 to eventually force overtime.

Gries posted a career-high 30 points with six assists and five rebounds, and did not turn the ball over in 37 minutes of action. Eight of Gries' points came in overtime, where he was 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. Cerroni scored a St. Norbert-career high 22 points, and was 6-for-10 from beyond the three-point arc. Andrew Schwoerer, playing for the first time since Nov. 16, came off the bench to register 18 points and 10 rebounds. Elliott and Izaiah Anderson had 14 points apiece, while Hofacker netted 10 points.

St. Norbert held a commanding 52-28 advantage on the glass. The Green Knights shot 66.7 percent from the floor, making 40 of 60 field goals. St. Norbert also connected 35 times on 47 attempts at the free-throw line, including a 16-for-20 effort in overtime.

Grinnell shot 41.2 percent (35-for-85) from the floor but made 25 of 67 (37.3 percent) three-point field goal attempts. Jack Taylor led the Pioneers with 40 points, while Julian Marx added 20 points. Patrick Maher finished with 19 points and Aaron Levin 16 for Grinnell.