RIPON, Wis. - Ripon defeated Illinois College 86-73 Saturday afternoon to clinch a spot in the 2016 Midwest Conference Tournament. That marks the fourth consecutive season and sixth time in the last seven years that Ripon will be playing in the MWC's post-season tournament. The Red Hawks were able to wrap up their most recent Tournament berth behind 36 points from the reigning Division-III National Player of the Week Ty Sabin, who connected on 7-of-8 3-pointers, which is tied for fourth in school history for most 3-pointers for a single game, just one game after breaking the school record with 11.
Despite the 13-point victory, Ripon (14-7, 12-4 MWC) was slow out of the gate, falling behind by nine points just five minutes into the contest. The Red Hawks then kicked things into gear, scoring game's next 12 points, with four coming from Ty Ketz before Sabin connected on back-to-back threes to give Ripon the lead. Ripon fell behind by six later in the half, but finished the half strong with an 18-7 run.
Illinois College (7-14, 4-12 MWC) scored seven of the first nine points of the second half to tie the score at 48 with 18 minutes to play, but Sabin grabbed the lead right back with yet another 3-pointer. Ripon then went up by nine with 15 minutes to play, but the Blueboys battled back to tie the score with 11 minutes remaining. Ripon would never trail in the second half however, as a Cal Schultz layup on the ensuing possession gave the Red Hawks the lead for good. That was the beginning of a 10-0 run that put Ripon in command and sealed the victory.
In addition to his 36 points, Sabin recorded four rebounds and two assists. In Ripon's last six games, Sabin is averaging 31 points per game on 63 percent shooting (30-48) from 3-point range. Ketz was second on the team in scoring Saturday, posting 20 points, while Isaac Masters scored 11 points, all of which came in the first half, in addition to four rebounds and four assists. The Red Hawks shot 53 percent (33-62) as a team, including 50 percent (12-24) from 3-point range. They also turned the ball over just six times, while scoring 24 points off 12 Illinois College miscues.
Max Stutsman led Illinois College with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including a trio of 3-pointers. Mitchell Patterson and Tim Schappaugh each scored 13 points, while Cody Hildebrand added 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting. The Blueboys shot 44 percent (28-63) from the field and 28 percent (7-25) from 3-point range.
Ripon will now travel to Beloit College on Wednesday. That game will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Beloit, Wis. and can be seen live on http://portal.stretchinternet.com/ripon/.