St. Norbert Falls in MWC Tournament Opener

From Sports Information Director, February 27, 2009 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

GRINNELL, Iowa - St. Norbert College could not hold off host Grinnell College and lost a Midwest Conference Tournament semifinal game 95-85 at Darby Gym.

The Green Knights finished the season 18-6, while the top-seeded Pioneers improved to 18-6. St. Norbert, after starting 16-1, lost five of its last seven games of the season but still won the fourth-most games in a season in school history.

St. Norbert and Grinnell were tied for the 18th and final time in the game at 75-75 with 7:24 left on a Ryan Finneke basket. Grinnell however would go on an 11-1 run over the next three minutes to take an 86-76 lead with 4:31 to go. St. Norbert had three turnovers and missed a layup in the decisive stretch, while Grinnell was 5-for-6 from the floor and converted a pair of conventional three-point plays by John Grotberg.

The Green Knights would get to within 90-85 with 1:09 left to play but would get no closer.

Both teams struggled to score in a first half that finished tied 35-35. St. Norbert made just 47.6 percent of its shots in the first half, while Grinnell was just 11-for-42 (26.2 percent). Grinnell made 50 percent of its shots in the second half though to score 60 points in the final 20 minutes.

Grinnell's Bobby Long led all scorers with 33 points, making 11 of 26 shots. Grotberg had 31 points but was just 8-for-34 from the floor. Grotberg made 11 of 14 free throws.

Bryan Fleischmann scored 22 points to lead St. Norbert, while Tom Katzfey had 17 points and Jake Dietz 10. St. Norbert finished the game 28-for-48 (58.3 percent) from the floor and 28-for-37 (75.7 percent) at the free-throw line. The Green Knights had 24 turnovers, relatively low for a Grinnell game, but forced the Pioneers into just nine miscues.