After their final games against Ripon and St. Norbert College, the Lawrence men’s basketball team ended their season with an 8-10 conference record and a 9-13 record overall.
In the game Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Wyman Gymnasium in Ripon, Wisc., senior Tyler Crisman led Lawrence to their final win of the season, 77-69. The lead was slim in the first half, changing hands twice and never exceeding seven points. The Vikings took control with four minutes left in the half with a three-pointer by Crisman and an and-one by sophomore Tom Antosz. The teams entered break with Lawrence leading 36-34.
Ripon brought the game to a tie in the first minutes of the second half, but two three-pointers by sophomore Chris Siebert took back the Lawrence lead that lasted the rest of the game.
Crisman lead with 21 points for the Vikings, followed by junior Tyler Mazur who came off the bench to score 17. Junior Conor Klusendorf led the team in rebounds with eight, followed by sophomore Davis DeWolfe with five.
In their final game of the season, the Vikings fell 80-65 to St. Norbert on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Alexander Gymnasium.
Senior Chris Sims opened up the scoring for the Vikings with a three-pointer and began the back and forth scoring battle between the teams. After a close first half with the teams exchanging leads seven times, St. Norbert took a quick lead just two minutes into the second half. The Vikings tied it back up with 13:28 left with free throws from Siebert and DeWolfe and a layup by Crisman, but St. Norbert held on and pulled ahead to a 15-point victory.
In his third straight game with at least 20 points, Crisman led the Vikings in scoring in the last game of his career. As a consistent leading scorer, his absence next year will leave a void that will be difficult to fill for the Vikings. Mazur followed Crisman in scoring with 18 points, going six for nine from the three-point range, and also raked in nine boards to lead.
Sims commented on season, “I think we had a good season overall. Like all seasons, we had our ups and downs, but the way we played the last games says a lot about the guys on our team. With no chance of making it to the tournament, guys could have easily just given up on the year and played just for themselves but everybody played their hearts out in our final two games.”
Sims continued, “Obviously it would be nice to go out with a win on senior night, but the effort level from every guy against Norbert’s was awesome to see. As long as that effort level continues this group can do some big things next year and will be exciting to watch.”
On the end of the season, Crisman said, “I thought that we played really hard in our two last games. Although we weren’t playing to get into the post season, it was nice to see the guys play for pride. Our conference was so competitive this year that any team on any night could win, so it was a fun season. We swept Ripon on the year, which is good because we don’t like the Redhawks. St. Norbert was obviously a difficult game for me and Sims because it was the last one of our careers so it was tough in that aspect, but I have had a good career.”
As a team, the players have stayed close this season. Crisman said, “I am proud of our guys this year. We had a young team and we ran into some bumps, but we stuck together and they are going to be better because of that next year. I’m proud to be a Lawrence basketball alumnus now.”