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St. Norbert Clinches MWC Title Share With Win Over Grinnell

From Asst. AD/Athletics Communications, February 9, 2019 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College earned at least a share of its sixth Midwest Conference men's basketball championship in the last seven years with a 116-97 win over Grinnell College at Mulva Family Fitness & Sports Center.

The Green Knights (17-6, 15-1 MWC) rallied from an early 11-point deficit to move two games ahead of Grinnell (17-5, 13-3) with two games remaining. St. Norbert can win the title outright and earn the No. 1 seeding and hosting privileges for the MWC Tournament with one win in its last two games. The victory also gave St. Norbert coach Gary Grzesk his 300th career win, with 249 coming at St. Norbert.

Grinnell gave the Green Knights a scare early, going on a 19-5 run in the early going to open up a 19-8 lead just over six minutes into the game, canning five 3-pointers in the stretch. St. Norbert went on a quick 6-0 run to get to within 19-16. The Pioneers opened the lead back to seven at 23-16 before a 7-0 run led to a tie score on Wade Geenen's layup midway through the half.

The lead went back and forth over the next four minutes until Logan Krekling's hoop with 5:52 left in the half put St. Norbert ahead for good at 38-37. That started a 14-0 run for the Green Knights, who led 50-37 with 3:09 left. Krekling had nine of the 14 points during the spurt. Grinnell cut the deficit to seven late in the half, but Drew Yetka's 3-pointer sent the Green Knights into halftime with a 57-45 lead.

Grinnell shifted strategy in the second half, attacking the basket to reach the bonus with 13:32 remaining. But the Pioneers were only able to shave off five points from their halftime deficit, getting to within seven at 85-78 with 9:52 to go. St. Norbert went on a 5-0 run over the next two minutes to open up a 12-point lead and the host never led by less than 10 the rest of the way.

The Green Knights shot 62.7 percent (42-for-67) from the floor and had seven players reach double figures in scoring. Nolan Beirne finished with 21 points and eight rebounds. Krekling had career highs with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Jacob Bolwerk added a career-high 17 points. Joe Ciriacks added 14 point, Jared Muphy 12 points, Joe Lemon 11 points and Matt Lynch a career-high 10 points. St. Norbert held a commanding 47-27 rebounding advantage.

Grinnell shot 31-for-74 (41.9 percent) from the floor and 16-for-46 (34.8 percent) from beyond the three-point arc. Vinny Curta and Jackson Qualley finished with 20 points apiece.

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