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Early Hole Too Much for Green Knights in NCAA Sweet 16 Loss

From Sports Information Director, March 11, 2016 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

LISLE, Ill. - St. Norbert College trailed by 11 points early and rallied to take a one-point lead late, but couldn't hold off Alma College 70-64 in a NCAA Division III Tournament sectional semifinal game at Benedictine University's Rice Center.

The Green Knights, who were making their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1984, finished their season 25-3. Alma (24-6) advanced to face either host Benedictine or Ohio Wesleyan University in the sectional championship.

St. Norbert scored the first basket of the game and led 4-3 after pair of Tim Marshall free throws 1:56 into the game, but Alma connected on its next five field goals to take a 17-6 lead with 5:11 elapsed. Four of the shots were 3-pointers, two apiece from Chase Fairchild and Trevor Gernaat.

The Green Knights slowly cut into the deficit, trailing 27-23 on a D.J. DeValk jumper at the 7:55 mark. Alma scored the next seven points, four by Gernaat and a 3-pointer by Fairchild, to take a 34-23 lead with 6:22 to go. St. Norbert cut it back down to 34-30 before trailing 36-30 at halftime.

Alma led 39-32 early in the second half before St. Norbert went on an 8-2 run to trail 41-40 on a 3-pointer by Ben Bobinski with 15:45 remaining. St. Norbert tied the game 46-46 on a Seth Taylor jumper at 13:25 but Alma again scored the next five points on a Fairchild 3 and a Kevin Gamble basket for a five-point edge.

St. Norbert would trail by no more than five points until retying the game 59-59 on a DeValk bucket with 3:47 to go. Alma's Scott Nikodemski would connect on a jumper 24 seconds later, but Mitch Winter's 3-pointer would give St. Norbert a 62-61 lead with 3:02 to go.

Nikodemski rallied the Scots again with a jumper 16 seconds later and then added another hoop at the 1:49 mark for a 65-62 lead. Terrence Garner's tip-in with 1:14 to go would bring St. Norbert to within 65-64, but Gernaat's 3-pointer with 13 seconds after an offensive rebound put the Scots up four and sealed their victory.

St. Norbert shot 42.1 percent from the floor, making 24 of 57 field-goal attempts. The Green Knights were 5-for-20 (25.0 percent) from beyond the three-point arc and outrebounded Alma 35-32. DeValk led St. Norbert with 21 points while Winter came off the bench to add 13 points.

Alma shot 46.7 percent (28-for-60) from the floor and was 10-for-28 (35.7 percent) from beyond the three-point arc. Gernaat led the Scots with 25 points, while Fairchild added 17 points.