NCAA Victory Drought Ends For Wartburg Men [Videos]
It's been more than a quarter century since the Wartburg men's basketball team won an NCAA Tournament game. The 26-year drought ended Friday night (March 3, 2017).
The Knights (20-9 overall) advanced to the second-round following a 92-66 upset win over No. 10 Benedictine (23-5) at the Karges Center in River Falls, Wis. The victory was the first NCAA Tournament win for the Knights since 1991 and the point total shattered the program's single-game NCAA Tournament record, surpassing the previous high of 75 set against St. John's on March 4, 1993, and Central on March 2, 1991.
Wartburg also made 29 field goals to set a new record in that category. The old record was 28 in the two previously mentioned games.
The Knights also bested the previous mark in three-point field goal percentage (.500 [6-12] vs. Central on 3/2/1991) and assists (16 vs. Calvin on 3/8/1991).
Benedictine led 4-3 with 18:25 on the clock in the first period, but that would be the team's only lead for the remainder of the contest. Wartburg built a 15-point lead twice in the first half, at the 3:21 mark and at the halftime buzzer, 41-26. In the second half, the Knights increased their advantage to 35 points at both the 9:24 and 7:39 marks.
Wartburg led the Eagles in all shooting percentages including field goals (.569 to .357), three-point shots (.552 to .182) and free throws (.643 to .526).
Senior Nick Webber (Peosta) had a team-best 22 points, which included five three-pointers. His five treys broke the program's single-game record in NCAA Tournament play in two categories. He broke the old mark of four three-pointers (set by Todd Reinhardt against Central on March 2, 1991) and three-point field goal percentage (.714) (Reinhardt held the old mark of .571).
Sophomore Jaran Sabus (Urbandale) was next with 16 points, junior Sawyer Hermann (Monticello) had 12 and classmate Nate Woeste (Atkins) had 10 to round out the leading scorers.
Junior Clifton Brown (Mims, Fla.) grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and Sabus led the team with five assists which tied the single game school record in the NCAA Tournament as Troy Osterhaus also had five against Illinois Wesleyan on March 2, 2001.
Wartburg had 16 three-point field goals as a team, which tied the single-game school record and shattered the previous NCAA Tournament high of six set in 2001 and 1991. Seven Knights contributed to the record-breaking performance including Webber, Woeste, Sabus, Herman, seniors Lenart Kalan (Skofja Loka, Slovenia) and Jordan Cannon (Bolingbrook, Ill.) and sophomore Cam Kickbush (Reinbeck).
UP NEXT: The Knights face No. 4 Wisconsin-River Falls on at 7 p.m. Saturday (March 4) in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament. The tournament hosts are in the 64-team field for the first time since 2012. The Falcons won the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) regular season and tournament championships to receive an automatic NCAA bid.
Story Courtesy of Wartburg Sports Information
Game Highlights vs. No. 10 Benedictine
Post-Game Press Conference
Videos Courtesy Wartburg Knights via YouTube