MOUNT VERNON – Ripon took advantage of Cornell miscues down the stretch and rallied for a 75-69 victory Saturday in a battle for fifth place in the Midwest Conference.
Cornell (7-11 overall, 6-7 MWC) coughed up a late four-point lead as the Red Hawks (9-9, 7-6 MWC) finished the game on a 13-2 spurt.
The Rams trailed by as many as 10 points late in the first half, but worked their way back with a chance to close it out in the end. Cornell built its biggest lead at 57-48 with 8:36 remaining and held a 66-62 advantage following a Joey Guth layup with 3:01 to play.
Cornell turned the ball over just 11 times in the game, although four of them occurred in the final three minutes. Ripon's Alex Erdmann, fouled while attempting a 3-pointer, made all three free throws to put the Red Hawks back on top, 67-66, with 1:40 to go. Ripon held on by hitting 8-of-10 free throws.
Freshman Peter Catchings, who had a strong game with 14 points, got the Rams within 71-69 on a bucket with 18 seconds remaining. Ripon then sealed it with two free throws on the ensuing possession.
Catchings shot 7-of-8 from the field and finished one point shy of his season high. He also grabbed five rebounds.
Guth posted a team-high 17 points and four steals. Nick Bobb had 13 points and led the Rams with six boards. Junior Reggie Greenwood added nine points to go over the 900-point mark for his career (907).
The Rams fell short despite connecting on 51.7 percent of their shots from the field, including 15-of-27 field goals in the second half.
Ripon owned a 34-26 edge on the boards. Taylor Koth led all scorers with 20 points.
Coming up – Cornell, which has a mid-week bye, returns to action Saturday, Feb. 2 for a 5 p.m. tipoff against Carroll (13-4, 8-3 MWC) in Waukesha, Wis. The Pioneers won the first meeting in December, 83-65.