By Clark Shanahan
GALESBURG, Illinois - The Knox Prairie Fire men’s basketball team fell to the Ripon College Red Hawks on Senior Day this Saturday, losing by a final score of 69-56. With the loss, the Prairie Fire’s record on the season stands at 8-15 on the year.
The first half was a competitive battle between Knox and Ripon, with each team playing excellent defense and putting in outstanding effort. Giannis Tsahageas had one of his better performances as a Knox player this game, scoring 15 points on a 7-of-8 shooting clip while grabbing five rebounds. Defensively, the Prairie Fire only allowed the RedHawks to shoot 9-for-34 from the field in the half, pressing their guards and forcing a lot of missed shots in the paint, as well. Unfortunately, Ripon managed to get off enough three point shots to keep up with the offensively sound Prairie Fire, and as a result Knox entered halftime only up by a single point.
Knox’s defensive dam burst in the second half, as the Red Hawks put up gaudy offensive numbers. Ripon both drove to the line and put up three pointers efficiently, tiring Knox’s guards and forcing the team to play catch-up for much of the rest of the game. Jordan Rayner put up a valiant effort in one of his final games at Knox, scoring 11 points and commanding the team in his veteran style, but the squad as a whole shot 42.86% in the second half, putting them even more on their back foot. A few runs helped close the gap at points, but the Prairie Fire were unable to even the score as the final whistle blew.
"We came out to play on senior day," said head coach Ben Davis. "We let it get away from us in the second half, but Ripon is a very good team."
The Prairie Fire will potentially play one more game against Illinois College on February 22.