Elliott's Perfection Leads St. Norbert to Nicolet Bank Tourney Title

From Sports Information Director, December 30, 2013 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College junior guard Austin Elliott had a perfect night to lead the Green Knights to a 70-63 win over Viterbo University in the championship game of the Nicolet National Bank Holiday Tournament at Schuldes Sports Center.

Elliott was 8-for-8 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from beyond the three-point arc, and was 2-for-2 at the free-throw line to score a game-high 21 points. Elliott also had three rebounds and two assists with no turnovers in 29 minutes of action, and was named the tournament's most valuable player.

St. Norbert (8-1), ranked No. 14 in the D3hoops.com Top 25, needed to rely on its defense to pull out the win over its NAIA foe. The V-Hawks (9-8) jumped out to a 13-4 lead to start the game, and St. Norbert had to slowly grind its way back into the game. Viterbo held a 24-18 lead with a 6:53 left in the half, and St. Norbert answered with a 12-2 run to take a 30-26 lead. Elliott hit a pair of 3-pointers during the run. The Green Knights settled on a 32-31 lead at halftime.

The Green Knights opened the second half on a 9-2 run on a pair of 3-pointers by Kam Cerroni and a triple by Cerroni for a 41-33 edge four minutes into the half. St. Norbert pushed its lead out to 10 points, the latest at 52-42 with 9:23 to go before the V-Hawks fought back.

Viterbo went on an 8-0 run to get back to within 52-50 with 6:55 remaining, and eventually tied the game at 56-56 on a Jake Bamke 3-pointer with 5:11 to go. Brandon Gries scored the game's next six points with four free throws sandwiched around a basket to give the Green Knights a 62-56 edge with 2:19 left. St. Norbert led 64-59 with 1:10 to go on a pair of Elliott free throws, and forced a turnover on Viterbo's next possession to salt the game away at the free-throw line.

Gries finished with 15 points, while Cerroni added 13 points, and both were named to the All-Tournament Team. St. Norbert shot 46.5 percent (20-for-43) from the floor but was 25-for-29 (86.2 percent) at the free-throw line. The Green Knights also highly valued the basketball, committing just four turnovers against a rugged defensive squad.

Viterbo shot 51.1 percent from the floor, making 24-of 47 shots from the field. Cole Lewis led the V-Hawks with 14 points, and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Izac Sheforgen added 12 points and Matt Turba and David Shepard had 10 points apiece. The V-Hawks outrebounded St. Norbert 29-26 but went just 8-for-16 at the free-throw line.

In the consolation game, Buena Vista University defeated Alma College 87-84 on Nick Clark's 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds remaining. Buena Vista's Cole Darrow and Alma's D.J. Beckman were both named to the All-Tournament Team.