Green Knights Defend Home Court to Top Ripon in MWC Semifinal

From Sports Information Director, February 22, 2013 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College advanced to the championship game of the Midwest Conference Tournament for the fourth consecutive year with a 75-65 win over Ripon College in a MWC Tournament semifinal game in front of a raucous crowd of 1,442 at Connie Tilley Court at Schuldes Sports Center.

The Green Knights (19-5) will face Carroll University (18-6) in the championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday. It is a rematch of last year's title game, won by Carroll 87-65. The winner of the game receives the MWC's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament. Carroll topped Grinnell College 92-89 in the other semifinal.

St. Norbert had to defeat Ripon for the third time this season and for the second time in 10 days to advance to the title game. The Red Hawks (13-11) built a five-point lead early with an 11-6 lead. St. Norbert went on a 20-5 run over the next 11 minutes to take a 26-16 lead. The Green Knights held a 20-16 lead before a quick 6-0 spurt was fueled by a reverse layup from Jack Whalen, an Andrew Schwoerer corner jumper and a layup by Garrett Thorn. St. Norbert led 29-20 at halftime.

Ripon shaved the deficit down to three points at 36-33 with 15:02 to go, but neither team could score for the next two minutes. Thorn hit a layup and Jeremy Paprocki's 3-pointer gave St. Norbert some breathing room at 41-33 with 12:31 to go. The Green Knights led 52-43 with 6:56 to go, but St. Norbert went on an 8-0 run to lead 60-43 with 5:37 remaining.

Ripon began fouling with about 2 minutes left, and the Red Hawks got to within seven points three different times but could get no closer. St. Norbert made 8 of 10 free throws in the final two minutes to close the game out.

Brandon Gries led St. Norbert with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Schwoerer and Andy Fox both had 12 points, while Paprocki added 11 points. The Green Knights shot 47.2 percent (25-for-53) from the floor and held a commanding 42-26 rebounding advantage.

Ripon shot 39 percent (23-for-59) from the floor. Taylor Koth finished with 24 points for the Red Hawks, with 20 coming in the second half. Kyle Loughrin added 16 points.