St. Norbert Outlasts Ripon to Move Into MWC Tournament Title Game

From Sports Information Director, February 26, 2010 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College moved into the championship game of the Midwest Conference Men's Basketball Tournament with a hard-fought 78-74 win over Ripon College at Schuldes Sports Center.

The Green Knights tied a school record with their 21st win against three losses, and also beat Ripon three times in one season for the first time in school history. Ripon ended its season 15-9. St. Norbert will face Carroll, an 85-81 win over Lake Forest in the other semfiinal, at 3 p.m. Saturday.

In front of a raucous crowd of 1,471, both teams battled to a 30-30 halftime tie. John Taylor's long 3-pointer with 5 seconds left in the first half gave St. Norbert a 30-27 lead, but Ripon's Aris Wurtz canned a 30-footer at the buzzer for the deadlock.

Ripon got the early jump in the second half, pushing out to a 37-33 lead on a Scott Gillespie basket with 17:17 left to play. Following a St. Norbert timeout, the Green Knights went on an 11-0 run to take a 44-37 lead with 14:40 to go. Chris Peterson had a conventional three-point play to get the run started, and had seven points in the run. Dave Wipperfurth had the other four points.

Peterson's 3-pointer with 10:35 left gave St. Norbert a 51-39 lead, but Ripon went on a quick 8-0 run to pull within 51-47 with 8:27 left. Wurtz had all eight points, getting two 3-pointers and a basket. The Green Knights pushed back ahead 58-49 with 5:40 left on a Jake Dietz free throw.

St. Norbert led 71-63 with 45 seconds left before Ripon made a late charge, drilling three 3-pointers to get within 75-72 with 18 seconds left. Wipperfurth split a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left, and a Scott Gillespie layup cut it to 76-74 with 7 seconds left. But John Taylor made both free throws a second later for the final points.

The Green Knights shot just 43.8 percent from the floor, making 21 of 48 shots, but canned 30 of 37 free throws. Peterson led St. Norbert with 23 points, while Wipperfurth added 18 and Taylor 14.

Wurtz and Gillespie each scored 25 points for Ripon, while Taylor Koth added 10 points. The Red Hawks shot 49.2 percent (30-for-61) from the floor, but were just 5-for-10 at the charity stripe.