Green Knights Off to Best Start in 89 Years With Trimming of Beloit

From Sports Information Director, January 6, 2009 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

BELOIT - Despite being shorthanded, the St. Norbert College men's basketball program pushed out to its best start since the 1919-20 season with a 77-44 Midwest Conference win over Beloit College at Flood Arena.

The Green Knights, ranked 23rd in this week's D3hoops.com Top 25, improved to 9-1 overall and 3-0 in the MWC. St. Norbert hasn't had a 10-game start that productive since going 12-0 during the 1919-20 season. Beloit fell to 3-7, 1-2.

St. Norbert went into the game without its third-leading scorer and leading rebounder, senior center Tom Katzfey, who did not travel due to illness. The rest of the Green Knights picked up the slack immediately by not wasting much time in taking control of the game.

St. Norbert held a 5-3 lead before Jake Dietz, starting in place of Katzfey, canned jumpers on consecutive possessions. Following a missed 3-pointer on the next possession, Dietz grabbed the offensive rebound and laid it in for an 11-3 lead almost four minutes into the game. Beloit scored the next basket to make it 11-5 but would not get closer.

The Green Knights led 18-9 with 12:55 left in the first half before turning up its now-trademark defense. A Dave Wipperfurth 3-pointer jump-started a 28-3 run over the next 10-plus minutes, with St. Norbert leading 46-12 when the dust settled with 2:32 left in the first half. The Green Knights settled on a 49-18 lead at halftime.

St. Norbert eventually led by 35 points in the second half at 63-28 with 12:39 left. The Green Knights, who never led by less than 28 points in the second half, led by as many as 36 points twice.

Dietz turned in another superlative effort at Flood Arena. Last year at Beloit, Dietz had 11 points and 13 rebounds while starting in place of an injured Katzfey. This time, Dietz was 8-for-9 from the floor and had a game-high 17 points and eight rebounds.

The Green Knights shot 50 percent from the floor, making 30 of 60 shots, including a 19-for-34 (55.9 percent) effort in the first half. Wipperfurth added 13 points off the bench, while Bryan Fleischmann had 12 points and eight rebounds. St. Norbert, which had just eight turnovers, held a commanding 45-21 rebounding advantage.

Beloit shot 38.3 percent for the game, making 18 of 47 shots, but was just 3-for-11 (27.3 percent) at the free-throw line. Travis Towns led the Buccaneers with 12 points, while Andy Horton and Jacob Ewing had 10 points apiece.