Warhawk men win fourth straight
Steve Egan's five-point individual run set the tone for UW-Whitewater heading into halftime.
K.J. Evans' seven quick points to start the second half kept the momentum rolling out of the break.
And Quardell Young's athletic block put the game on ice with less than 11 minutes left.
The Warhawk men's basketball team set out to silence UW-Platteville's half-court offense on Wednesday night, and it executed that plan to near perfection on the way to a 77-58 drubbing of the Pioneers at Kachel Gymnasium.
Platteville was previously unbeaten in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play but fell to 5-1 (10-5 overall). Whitewater improved to 4-2 and 13-2.
“We felt what we had to establish was our defensive pressure,” Warhawks coach Pat Miller said. “In the past, we've had success when we're able to pressure them and extend them. They're so good at running their half-court offense when they can run it on the 3-point line.
“We did a great job of getting them pushed out.”
Platteville big man Chas Cross, the reigning WIAC player of the year and a preseason Division 3 all-American, scored a game-high 19 points, but he had just four in the first half and padded his numbers late.
Whitewater forced 13 turnovers, three of them from Pioneers point guard Eric Gerber, the quarterback of Platteville's half-court offense.
“It felt good,” UW-W guard Quardell Young said. “Knowing they were undefeated, we knew it was going to be a good game from the start. Our plan was to extend their offense out … and then take advantage of transition opportunities.”
After a bit of a feeling-out process through much of the first half, the Warhawks took control in the final three minutes before halftime.
They went on an 8-0 run going into the break, including five straight points from junior forward Egan. Egan was called upon with big men KJ Evans and Reggie Hearn in foul trouble.
“That was a big run,” Miller said. “I thought they fatigued, and we took advantage of that. We really emphasized at halftime coming out and extending the lead.”
Evans, a Beloit Memorial graduate, seemed to take that message to heart.
The Warhawks' leading scorer was shut out in the first half, but opened the second with back-to-back buckets. His old-fashioned three-point play with 16:35 left gave UW-W a 17-point lead.
“We still knew we had to stay humble, come back out (after halftime) and play hard another 20 minutes and stick it to them,” said Hearn, who finished with a team-high 16 points.
Young, who went 10-for-10 from the field in Saturday's victory over Eau Claire, was 5 of 6 on Wednesday and finished with 14 points and four assists.
And it was his emphatic block on Gerber's drive to the basket that put the stamp on the victory, as Patrick Souter grabbed the rebound and went coast-to-coast to give the Warhawks a 23-point lead.
The Warhawks are home again at 3 p.m. on Saturday, hosting UW-Superior.
WHITEWATER 77, PLATTEVILLE 58
Platteville (58)—E. Gerber, 5-0-11; Johnson, 4-0-8; Stocki, 1-0-3; Manning, 4-3-11; Cross, 7-5-19; River, 0-2-2; Nemitz, 0-2-2; Collin, 1-0-2. Totals: 22-12-58.
Whitewater (77)—Merg, 2-0-5; Young, 5-4-14; Evans, 5-1-11; Hearn, 7-2-16; E. Bryson, 1-0-2; Souter, 3-2-8; Odegaard, 3-1-9; McBride, 0-2-2; Egan, 3-2-8; Van Schyndel, 1-0-2. Totals: 30-14-77.
UW-Platteville 18 40—58
UW-Whitewater 31 46—77
Three-point goals—Platteville 2 (E. Gerber, Stocki), Whitewater 3 (Merg, Odegaard 2). Free throws missed—Platteville 4, Whitewater 7. Total fouls—Platteville 18, Whitewater 16.