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Green Knights Charge Past Blugolds Down Stretch

From Asst. AD/Athletics Communications, November 15, 2017 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College saw a big second-half lead melt away into a deficit but came again to post a thrilling 77-69 win over UW-Eau Claire in a non-conference game at Mulva Family Fitness & Sports Center.

The Green Knights (1-0) saw a 15-point lead early in the second half - and a nine-point edge with 10 minutes left - disappear into a two-point deficit with just under four minutes remaining. But St. Norbert held the Blugolds (0-1) scoreless for the next 3 1/2 minutes to pull out the hard-earned victory.

Mitchell Reinthaler's basket gave St. Norbert a 58-49 lead with 10:07 remaining, but the Green Knights then went almost five minutes without a field goal as Eau Claire (0-1) went on an 11-0 run to take a 60-58 lead with 6:05 left on a Chris Duff basket.

D.J. DeValk, who was honored as the Green Knights' most recent 1,000-point scorer before the game, then hit a pair of free throws with 5:39 left to knot the score 60-60. A possession later, Brian Luteyn snatched an offensive rebound and was fouled on the putback for a conventional three-point play for a 63-60 edge. Eau Claire responded with a quick 5-0 run, with George Diekelman's conventional three-point play putting the Blugolds up 65-63 with 3:50 left.

DeValk then finished a layup and canned a couple of free throws on St. Norbert's next two possessions. DeValk then found Joe Lemon for a 3-pointer with 1:44 to go for a 70-65 lead. A couple of empty possessions for Eau Claire, followed by a Mitchell Reinthaler tip-in with 31 seconds left to put the Green Knights up seven, effectively decided the outcome.

St. Norbert led by as many as 14 points in the first half, the last time at 36-22 with 2:54 left, but Eau Claire - which beat NCAA Division II Winona State in an exhibition game on Nov. 4 - closed the half on a 10-2 run to trail 38-32 at halftime.

The Green Knights opened the second half on a 9-0 run to lead 47-32 with 16:33 left, but Eau Claire countered with a 10-0 run of its own to get back into the game.

DeValk finished with 25 points, one short of a career high. Reinthaler finished with 22 points - two short of a career high - and a career-high 13 rebounds. Lemon added 12 points. The Green Knights shot 45.3 percent (24-for-53) from the floor and held a commanding 37-24 rebounding advantage. St. Norbert also shot 22-for-27 (81.5 percent) from the free-throw line.

Eau Claire shot 51.9 percent (27-for-52) from the floor but was just 5-for-21 (23.8 percent) from beyond the three-point arc. Duff and Diekelman led the Blugolds with 21 points apiece, while Sean Miller added 16 points.