The Ripon College men’s basketball team did just what it wanted to in the first half of its NCAA Tournament game last week Friday.
It out-rebounded Washington University in St. Louis, held the Bears to just 30-percent shooting (10 of 33) from the field and shot a high percentage (50 percent) itself.
As a result, the Red Hawks led the No. 9-ranked team in the country 42-27 entering halftime.
“It was just a matter of, ‘Let’s continue to do that. Let’s play them even for the first 10 minutes of the second half and then let’s get some deep possessions and try to grind them a little bit,’” Ripon head coach Ryan Kane said of his message to his players between halves.
Unfortunately, the Red Hawks were unable to do that.
Washington University slowly chipped away at the lead and went ahead for good with less than four minutes left en route to an 87-72 win.
“At the end of the day, a lot of credit goes to them,” Kane said. “They had some really good players make some really big plays for them and we just ran out of gas.”
The loss eliminated Ripon from the tournament and ended a season in which it went 20-6 and made it to the “dance” for the first time in 15 years. Its 20 wins ties its sixth-highest total in history.
“It certainly doesn’t diminish what we did,” Kane said of the loss to the Bears. “We just had one bad half and it can happen.”
Read the full story, which includes information on a special performance by Ty Sabin, as well as the future of the team, in the March 9, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.