St. Norbert College posted an 11-3 run before halftime to pull away during its 79-49 men's basketball win over UW-Oshkosh on Thursday (Nov. 15) in Kolf Sports Center. It was the season opener for both squads.
The Green Knights (1-0), picked to win the Midwest Conference this season, shot 61 percent during the first half and 53 percent after the break. Brandon Gries topped all players with 19 points, including 16 in the first half, and seven assists.
Neither team led by more than three for the opening 14 minutes of the contest. Gries knocked down a three-pointer early, but Cory Nickel (Jr. • Waupun) answered with a triple of his own to go ahead, 5-3. An Alex Evans (So. • Fennimore) lay-in at the 13:25 mark made it a 10-9 lead for the Titans (0-1).
The score was tied at 12 and 15 before Sean Wise (Sr. • Wautoma) gave UW-Oshkosh its final advantage (17-15) with a lay-up. St. Norbert tallied 11 of the next 14 points. A pair of free throws by Gries pushed the margin to 26-20 for the Green Knights.
Gries kept the momentum on the visitors' side with seven points in the final 3:36 of the half. He connected on a jumper, a lay-up and three free throws. Garrett Thorn sank a bucket just before the buzzer to make it a 37-25 lead at intermission.
Jade Royston (Jr. • Wisconsin Dells) kept the Titans within striking distance with a pair of inside hoops early in the second half. Paul Appleton then drained a mid-range shot and Gries added a three-point play to stretch the margin to 47-30 with 15 minutes to go.
Evans converted a lay-up and two free throws midway through the period to earn a 60-42 deficit. UW-Oshkosh would get no closer, as the Green Knights finished the game with a 19-7 stretch. St. Norbert hit a trio of three-pointers during the last two minutes.
The Green Knights made 30 of their 53 field goals, with 6-of-13 accuracy (46 percent) behind the three-point line. St. Norbert sank 77 percent of its foul shots (13-17) while winning the rebounding battle (37-23) and committing 14 turnovers. Andrew Schwoerer tallied 14 points, to go with 11 by Thorn.
Nickel topped the Titans with 10 points – all in the first 18 minutes. He also paced the team with five rebounds. Royston compiled nine points and five assists, while Evans marked eight points.
UW-Oshkosh had 36 percent shooting (17-47) overall, with 3-of-19 efficiency behind the arc (16 percent). The Titans made 12-of-18 free throws (67 percent) and turned the ball over 15 times.
This was just the seventh defeat in UW-Oshkosh's last 29 season openers.
The Titans return to the court against Ripon College on Friday (Nov. 16) in Wisconsin Dells.