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St. Norbert Outlasts Cornell in MWC Semifinal; Ripon Awaits

From Asst. AD/Athletics Communications, February 28, 2020 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes,, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College wore down Cornell College late and went on to post an 89-75 win in a hard-fought Midwest Conference Tournament semifinal game at Mulva Family Fitness & Sports Center.

The Green Knights (23-3), ranked No. 18 in the Top 25, advanced to the championship game against Ripon College (19-7) at 3 p.m. Saturday at Mulva Family Fitness & Sports Center. Ripon was an 82-51 winner over Lake Forest College in the other semifinal. St. Norbert and Ripon split its two meetings this season, with the Green Knights winning 70-69 on Dec. 7 in Ripon before the Red Hawks returned the favor with a 70-52 win on Jan. 25 in De Pere.

St. Norbert couldn't shake Cornell despite building a 10-point lead in the first half. The Green Knights held a 27-23 lead with 9:07 left before going on an 8-2 run to take a 35-25 lead at the 7:20 mark on a pair of Jacob Bolwerk free throws. Cornell promptly rattled off the next eight points to get back into the game, trailing 35-33 after a Cooper Kabela 3-pointer at the 5:39 mark. The Rams would eventually take a late 44-41 lead in the half before Wade Geenen's triple with three seconds left set the teams into intermission tied at 44-44.

Neither team led by more than five points in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Bolwerk had a conventional three-point play with 12:23 remaining for a 57-56 lead, but the Rams scored the next five points, cabbed by a Kabela three-point play, with 10:20 to go for a 61-57 edge. Bolwerk then hit a 3-pointer at the 9:24 mark for a 62-61 lead, but Kabela answered 17 seconds later for a 63-62 nod. Bolwerk responded with another triple for a 65-63 St. Norbert lead with 8:46 left, a lead the Green knights wouldn't relinquish.

The Green Knights led 72-69 with 4:22 remaining, but the Green Knights would score on their next four possessions to finally pull away. Geenen banged home a 3-pointer from the top of the key, followed by a Connor Curtis layup. Joe Ciriacks and Geenen knocked in trifectas sandwiched around a Kabela free throw to finish an 11-1 run for an 83-70 lead with 1:40 to go.

St. Norbert shot 54.4 percent (31-for-57) from the floor and was 15-for-32 (46.9 percent) from beyond the three-point arc. Geenen finished with a career-high 23 points. Bolwerk added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Curtis finished with 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Ciriacks added 12 points.

Cornell shot 51.9 percent (27-for-52) from the floor, but had just three field-goal attempts in the final four minutes. Magnani and Kabela both had 21 points, while Devin Davis added 10 points.

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