NAPERVILLE, Ill. — Playing through significant foul trouble and emerging with a strong run of play in the second half, North Central (Ill.) improved to 6-0 at home on Tuesday by winning a battle against Wisconsin-Platteville 73-64 at Gregory Arena.
The fourth-ranked Cardinals are now 8-0 for the second time in the program’s history and have won nine consecutive home games dating back to last season.
After tying at 14 in the first 13 minutes, the Cardinals got a pair of jumpers from Derek Raridon and a three-pointer and fast-break layup from Aaron Tiknis to fuel a 9-2 run that gave them a 23-16 edge with 4:55 left in the opening half. Platteville (7-3) narrowed the gap to a single point at 26-25, but North Central held the Pioneers scoreless for the final 2:34 and got two free throws from Raridon to head into halftime ahead 28-25.
The Cardinals owned a 31-27 advantage early in the second period before putting together an 11-5 run, capped off by a Vince Kmiec three-pointer, to take their first double-digit lead at 42-32. North Central maintained its lead in the next six minutes before Pat Rourke sank a pair of free throws and fed Kmiec for a layup after a steal to fuel a 7-0 run that gave the hosts their biggest lead at 63-46 with five minutes left.
North Central wound up shooting 59.1 percent from the floor (13-22) in the final 20 minutes while making 16 of 22 free throws. Raridon finished with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while Kmiec totaled 14 points and Tiknis added 12 points and seven rebounds.