Rosendale native Tyler Semenas (3) and Kyle Rutkowski (50) attempt to block a shot against Monmouth. Rutkowski finished the game with a career-high five blocks.
Rosendale native Tyler Semenas (3) and Kyle Rutkowski (50) attempt to block a shot against Monmouth. Rutkowski finished the game with a career-high five blocks.

   As Monmouth celebrated its first Midwest Conference Tournament championship in 30 years last week Saturday, Ripon College head men’s basketball coach Ryan Kane could only clap his hands.

   He had just watched his team give its all but come up just short to the tournament hosts 79-76.

   The Red Hawks (18-7 overall), who won last year’s conference tournament, led with around four minutes left and trailed by just two with less than two minutes left.

   “We didn’t lose the game; they beat us,” Kane said. “You’ve got to give credit. We had a lead and they had a senior [Paul Engo III] who hadn’t really made much from behind the arc, make a 3-[pointer] and then the ensuing possession a freshman kid [D.J. Swift] who had been playing pretty well made another 3-[pointer] and those two were pretty back-breaking.”

   The 3-pointers, which came with around two minutes left, were not the only clutch shots Monmouth (20-7 overall) converted.

   It also made 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

   The free throws were not limited to that stretch either as the Fighting Scots finished the game 28 of 32 (90 percent) from the line.

   Ripon, meanwhile, got the free-throw line 18 times and made 11.

Read the full story, which includes information on a dominating win over St. Norbert in the semifinals, in the March 1, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.