Green Knights Hang On to Top Ripon

From Sports Information Director, February 11, 2009 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

RIPON - St. Norbert College held on to pick up a key road win with a 77-72 victory over Ripon College in a Midwest Conference game at Storzer Center.

The Green Knights, ranked 19th in D3hoops.com's Top 25, kept their one-game lead in the Midwest Conference race with two games to play. St. Norbert is 18-3 overall and 12-2 in the MWC, one game in the loss column ahead of Grinnell and Lawrence. St. Norbert has a key matchup on Saturday at Lawrence in a game that will likely determine the host for the Midwest Conference Tournament on Feb. 27-28.

St. Norbert's 18 wins this season marks just the fourth time in school history the Green Knights have won at least 18 games in a season. The Green Knights have won 21 games twice (1984 and 2002) and 19 once (1951). Since starting the 2007-08 season 2-5, St. Norbert is 29-8.

St. Norbert held a 14-point second half lead but had to hang on against a furious Ripon rally. Mike Dowden's 3-pointer with 12:41 left game St. Norbert a 53-39 lead. Ripon quickly went on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes, cutting the deficit to 53-49 with 10:44 to go.

Ripon got to within two points on three different occasions as the game wore on, but could not tie the game. Bryan Fleischmann's 3-pointer with 3:56 left game St. Norbert a 68-63 lead. Jake Dietz had a conventional three-point play to put St. Norbert ahead 71-65 with 2:33 left. Scott Gillespie's jumper with 1:36 to go pulled the Red Hawks to 71-69, but Dave Wipperfurth put back a miss on a St. Norbert 3 with 56 seconds to go for a 73-69 lead. John Taylor's two free throws with 13 seconds left were the game's final points.

St. Norbert led by as much as 30-16 with 4:37 left in the first half before settling on a 38-27 halftime advantage.

The Green Knights shot 46.3 percent from the floor and canned 12 of 24 3-pointers. St. Norbert was also 15-for-17 at the free-throw line. Fleischmann finished with 18 points, while Wipperfurth came off the bench with 16 points and made all four of his 3-pointers. Taylor also had 16 points with four 3s, and Dietz led the way down low with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Ripon shot 52.1 percent from the floor for the game and 60.9 percent in the second half. Gillespie had 18 points and eight rebounds, while Aris Wurtz had 19 points off the bench to lead Ripon in the scoring column.