Kyle Rutkowski releases a shot against Edgewood. He finished with nine points and seven rebounds
Kyle Rutkowski releases a shot against Edgewood. He finished with nine points and seven rebounds

   Entering the season, head coach Ryan Kane wanted to see his Ripon College men’s basketball team improve on defense.

   Through one game, the arrows are pointing in the right direction.

   The Red Hawks held Edgewood to just 38 percent shooting (19 of 20) from the field en route to a 67-48 home victory last week Saturday in their season opener.

   The game marked the first basketball contest in the newly renovated and named Willmore Center and the Doc Weiske Gymnasium.

   “I thought we played with great energy,” Kane said “I think that the pressure that we put on in the first half got them a little bit out of their rhythm. We were better in the first half than we were in the second half defensively as far as stringing stops together, but we had great energy and we played to a standard; we didn’t play to the scoreboard. They never really threatened in the second half, which you would expect at some point that they would give us some sort of run, but I think our defense held strong there.”

   The Red Hawks’ defense was especially strong in the first half as it held the Eagles to just 33 percent shooting (9 of 27) from the field, which includes 10 percent (1 of 10) from behind the 3-point line.

   As a result of the suffocating play, Ripon jumped out to an 11-2 lead six minutes in and stretched the lead to 39-22 entering halftime.

   The advantage never shrunk to less than 15 points after that point.

Read the full story, which includes information on the Hawks' scoring leaders, in the Nov. 23, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.