Ripon Hangs On For Win Against UW-La Crosse

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RIPON, Wis. - Ripon's men's basketball team picked up its first victory of the season Saturday afternoon, defeating UW-La Crosse by a score of 61-57. That is Ripon's third win against a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (WIAC) opponent in the last five years, including their second in a row. That is also the Red Hawks' first win against UW-La Crosse since the 2004-05 season, which is a span of five games.

Ripon (1-1) took control of the game early. Freshman Tyson Tully scored on the Red Hawks' first two possessions, which was followed by consecutive baskets by Senior Cal Schultz to give them an 8-0 lead just over three minutes into the contest. Ripon would never trail in the first half, taking their largest lead of 15 on a layup by Freshman Drew Jorgensen with three minutes left in the period. UW-La Crosse (2-1) then made a game of it, scoring the final 10 points of the half to go into the locker room trailing the Red Hawks 31-26.

Ripon continued to lead in the second half, until UW-La Crosse took a 41-40 lead on a three-point play by Sam Burkart, which was the first of 12 lead changes in the final 10 minutes. Brendon Manning gave UW-La Crosse another three-point play later in the half to take a two-point advantage, but Schultz answered with a step-back 3-pointer at the top of the key to give Ripon the lead yet again. After the lead changed hands three more times, Freshman Owen Theune tied the score at 57 for the Red Hawks. That set the stage for fellow freshman Ryan Steffes, who after a missed three by UW-La Crosse, connected on a 3-pointer to give Ripon the lead with one minute remaining. UW-La Crosse then turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, which allowed Ripon to get an insurance point at the free throw line to ice the game.

Schultz led Ripon with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while making both of his 3-point attempts, to go along with five rebounds and a career-high four assists. Trent Jones added 12 points and seven rebounds, while Steffes finished with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting. Kyle Rutkowski added a career-high 12 rebounds. The Red Hawks shot 48 percent (22-46) as a team, including 46 percent (5-11) from 3-point range.

UW-La Crosse was held to 37 percent (22-60) shooting, while making 20 percent (4-20) of their 3-pointers. Manning led the way for the Eagles with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while adding nine rebounds (three offensive). Ben Meinholz added 16 points, three rebounds, two assists, and five steals.

Ripon will try to build on this victory next weekend when they'll host Wisconsin Lutheran at 3 p.m. That game will be played at Weiske Gymnasium in Ripon, and can be seen live at