Late First Half Run Fuels St. Norbert's 19th Straight Win

From Sports Information Director, February 19, 2014 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

RIPON - St. Norbert College closed the last six minutes of the first half on a 17-2 run to take control and go on to a 78-62 win over Ripon College in a Midwest Conference game at Storzer Center.

The Green Knights (21-1, 17-0 MWC), ranked No. 5 in the D3hoops.com Top 25, extended their school record to 19 consecutive wins. The triumph also set a Midwest Conference record for conference wins in a season at 17.

Ripon (14-8, 11-6), which led by as many as five points in the first half, held a 30-28 lead with 6:19 left before halftime. The Green Knights countered with a Brandon Gries 3-pointer to start their run, and Kam Cerroni followed two possessions later with another triple for a 34-30 lead. Ripon's Brad Brooks would hit a basket with 4:30 left before intermission, but the Red Hawks would not score again the rest of the half.

Garrett Thorn finished a layup, and Austin Elliott drained a 3-pointer for a 39-32 edge. Andrew Schwoerer cut to the basket for another hoop, and Elliott canned another jumper from the top of the key for 43-32 advantage. Gries' elbow jumper finished the scoring and gave St. Norbert a 45-32 halftime lead.

The Red Hawks would get as close as eight points in the second half, and trailed by nine at 53-44 with 12:38 to go. A quick 8-0 run by St. Norbert over the next 3:29 effectively decided the issue. Elliott and Gries each had four points during the run.

Gries finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and was 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. His free throws boosted his career total to 420, giving him the St. Norbert record after surpassing Jack Gebler's 417 from 1966-70. Schwoerer had 22 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Elliott added 15 points and five assists off the bench. St. Norbert shot 47.5 percent (29-for-61) from the floor. The Green Knights, the nation's top rebounding team at plus-10.1 rebounds per game coming in, outworked the Red Hawks 43-27 on the glass.

Ty Sabin was the only Red Hawk to reach double figures at 23 points. The Red Hawks shot 41.9 percent (26-for-62) from the floor.