Green Knights Extend Winning Streak to Nine With Win Over Ripon

From Sports Information Director, January 10, 2009 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College survived a scare from archrival Ripon College to extend its winning streak to nine with a 74-62 win in a Midwest Conference game at Schuldes Sports Center.

The Green Knights, ranked No. 23 by D3hoops.com, improved to 10-1 on the season and 4-0 in the Midwest Conference. St. Norbert has not started a season this well since a 12-0 start in 1919-20, and its nine game-winning streak is tied for the fourth-best in school history.

Ripon started the game extremely strong, opening up an 11-2 lead on a 3-pointer by Scott Gillespie 4 minutes 17 seconds into the game. The Red Hawks held their largest lead at 16-6 with 12:30 left in the first half on a jumper by Gillespie.

From there, St. Norbert slowly ground its way back into the game. The Green Knights pulled to within 21-18 with 6:50 left in the first half on a 25-foot 3-pointer by Ryan Finneke. St. Norbert trailed 25-24 on a layup by Dave Wipperfurth with 3:28 left.

St. Norbert took its first lead at 31-30 on a basket by Jake Dietz, and went ahead again with 30 seconds left in the half on a conventional three-point play by Dietz. Ripon was whistled for a violation with 3.8 seconds left in the half, and Finneke buried a 35-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 37-32 halftime lead.

St. Norbert opened the second half on a 9-0 run to take a 46-32 lead, with Bryan Fleischmann scoring seven of the points. Ripon went the first 5:21 of the second half without scoring. The Green Knights opened its biggest lead of the game at 54-39 on a Steve Papke layup with 12:01 left.

Ripon trailed 61-50 with 7:28 to go before going on a quick 7-0 run to over the next two minutes to trail 61-57 with 5:27 left. However, St. Norbert would not allowed Ripon to score again for the next four minutes to take a comfortable 68-57 lead with 1:31 left. Mike Dowden's 3-pointer with 1:51 to go gave the Green Knights a nine-point lead and was their only field goal in the final seven minutes of the game.

Fleischmann pumped in a career-high 22 points, making 8 of 9 shots from the floor and 4 of 5 3-pointers. Dietz scored 15 points, with all of them coming in the first half. Finneke, Papke and Tom Katzfey all had eight points apiece. St. Norbert shot 51 percent from the floor, making 26 of 51 shots. The Green Knights were 7-for-17 from beyond the arc and outrebounded Ripon 31-28. St. Norbert is 24-3 when outrebounding its opponent under coach Gary Grzesk and is 21-3 when scoring at least 70 points.

Ripon was led by Gillespie's 22 points, while Andy Perrine and Mike King each had 10. The Red Hawks shot 43.1 percent from the floor (22-for-51) and were 4-for-13 (30.8 percent) from beyond the arc. Ripon had just eight turnovers average entering the game averaging 19.4.