Jan. 4, 2009

Courtesy of Northern State

FAYETTE, Iowa – After leading by as many as 17 in the first half, the Northern State University Wolves had to work to preserve a 63-58 win over the host Upper Iowa University Peacocks Saturday evening in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men’s basketball action.

The win, which moved NSU to 11-2 overall and 4-2 in conference play, also marked the 902nd career victory for head coach Don Meyer, who is now tied with Bob Knight for most career wins by an NCAA men’s coach.  Meyer and Knight are the only two coaches in NCAA men’s basketball history to reach the 900-win plateau.

The Wolves, coming off an 85-75 loss to Winona State on Friday, needed a 20-point, 10-rebound effort from senior forward Kevin Ratzsch (Bloomington, Ind.) and another 11 points from sophomore shooting guard Derek Hoellein (Eureka, S.D.) to overcome a season-low 34.0 percent shooting effort as a team.  NSU went 0-for-6 from long range in the second half, but was able to convert on enough free throws down the stretch to hang on to the win.

Despite giving up a 30-18 edge in points in the paint and a 44-25 advantage in rebounds, the Wolves were able to turn 20 UIU turnovers into 23 point on the board, while giving up just one point on 10 turnovers in what proved to be a physical, high-strung contest.  Both teams were whistled for a technical foul, while UIU's Matt Lesan was ejected near the end of the first half.  All told, the two teams combined for 44 fouls and 60 free throw attempts in the game.

The Peacocks were led by 17 points from Nick Kramer, while A.J. Adkins added 11 points off the bench.

NSU will be back in action next weekend as the Wolves return home to host the University of Mary on Saturday.  Meyer and the Wolves will be going for historic win number 903 in that game, which is slated for an 8 p.m. tip-off.