St. Norbert grabs upset victory against defending national champs in tourney
St. Norbert forced UW-Whitewater into 18 turnovers and held the defending Division III national champion to 40.8 percent shooting from the floor as the impetus behind a 66-55 win against the Warhawks in the championship game of the Nicolet National Bank Holiday Tournament at Schuldes Sports Center.
The Green Knights (7-3) turned back every Whitewater challenge, leading for the last 11 minutes 40 seconds, to win the first meeting between two in-state teams since the 1984 NCAA Division III Tournament.
Whitewater (9-2) tied the game at 35-35 with 12:02 left on a Quardell Young tip-in off his own miss. The Green Knights countered to take a 38-35 lead on their next possession on a conventional three-point play by Garrett Thorn for an advantage they would never relinquish.
St. Norbert led 48-43 with 8:13 left, but Thorn answered with a basket and Izaiah Anderson hit a pair of free throws for a 52-43 lead. Following a pair of Whitewater free throws, Brandon Gries hit a basket and later made a free throw for a 55-45 lead with 6:04 to go. Whitewater would get a free throw from Patrick Souter with 5:36 left, but neither team would score again until a pair of free throws by Gries with 2:54 to go. Whitewater's Darnell Harris hit an NBA-range 3-poitner with 2:02 left to cut it to 57-49, but the Warhawks would get no closer.
Whitewater's biggest lead in the game was five, when it erased a 22-21 halftime deficit and took a 27-22 lead in the first 1:13 of the second half. St. Norbert countered with three consecutive baskets of its own by Anderson, Andrew Schwoerer and Andy Fox to retake the lead at 28-27 with 16:03 left.
Anderson was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after collecting 20 points and 16 rebounds in the two games, and finished with 10 points and nine rebounds in the championship. Gries, Thorn and Austin Elliott also made the All-Tournament Team from St. Norbert. The Green Knights shot 47.9 percent from the floor, making 23 of 48 shots. Gries had a team-high 17 points, while Schwoerer had 15 points and Thorn 10.
Whitewater was led by Young's 21 points, and Luke Knoble added 10 points. Both players were named to the All-Tournament Team.