A late burst by St. Norbert College sent the host Green Knights to a 97-96 men’s basketball win over Grinnell College on Saturday.
Grinnell, 12-3 in the Midwest Conference and 16-3 overall, led 91-82 with 5:37 left before St. Norbert closed out the game with a 15-5 run. Brandon Gries hit the game-winning free throw with 1.8 seconds left.
Despite the loss, Grinnell still clinched a spot in the MWC Tournament for the second year in a row.
Griffin Lentsch ’13 of Grinnell had a game-high 32 points, while others in double figures were Matt Chalupa ’12 with 16 and Luke Yeager ’15 with 12.
Marques Valdez ’13 had five rebounds, Patrick Maher ’14 dished out four assists, Dominique Bellamy ’13 came up with four steals and Jack Adams ’13 had two.
Andrew Schwoerer had 22 points for the Green Knights, who are 10-5 in the league and 13-7 overall.
Grinnell fell behind by 11 early on, but roared back later. Behind 33-32 with 7:01 left in the first half, Grinnell went on a 17-6 run to go ahead 49-39. Lentsch had five points during that spurt, while Valdez, Brian McManamy ’13, Yeager and Chalupa had three each.
Grinnell led 51-45 at intermission and gradually built its lead in the second half, going up 91-76 on a trey by Lentsch with 6:38 left. That’s when the hosts began mounting their comeback on their way to victory.
Grinnell returns to Darby Gymnasium Wednesday to host Monmouth College. Game time is 7 p.m.