UW-Whitewater destroys St. Thomas
But against St. Thomas on Saturday night, the only disappointment was on the Tommies’ faces after Odegaard drained shot after shot.
Odegaard nailed six of his seven three-pointers in the second half en route to a career-high 29 points to help Whitewater demolish defending national champion St. Thomas 91-62 in an NCAA Division III second-round contest at Kachel Gym.
Alex Merg followed Odegaard’s lead with 17 points, while Chris Davis and Alex Edmonds had 11 points apiece to lead Whitewater to its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1996.
The streaking Warhawks move on to face Wheaton College on Friday at a site to be determined. The host site will be announced Monday, with Whitewater as one of the candidates to host the sectional.
Regardless of the site, Whitewater will be tough to beat if it continues to shoot over 60 percent from the field as it did in two commanding victories this weekend.
“This weekend was amazing how well we shot the ball in both games,” said Warhawk coach Pat Miller, whose team piled on a game-high 91 points. “To have back-to-back games like that was really something special.”
Odegaard wasn’t too shabby on his own.
“For the first time all year I finally was in a zone,” Odegaard said. “I guess my release point on my shot has kind of been inconsistent. I think that’s why my shooting woes have been happening, but tonight it finally felt good.”
Whitewater unleashed its attack from the opening tip. The Warhawks opened up a 20-12 first-half lead behind a sizzling 75-percent field-goal shooting.
“If Whitewater continues to shoot over 60 percent from the field, I don’t see too many people beating them,” Tommies’ head coach Johnny Tauer said. “I don’t know if there is a team in the country that has that quickness out front and the perimeter shooters and then the post play.”
The quick guard play was led by Quardell Young, who brought the crowd to its feet with a steal at midcourt and a thunderous left-handed dunk that put the Whitewater up 35-18.
Tommie guard Will DeBerg tried to keep pace with a long three-pointer at the buzzer that cut the Warhawk lead to 42-30 at halftime.
But it just wasn’t enough to slow down the Warhawks.
Odegaard stole the show with 22 second-half points to lead Whitewater to a dazzling 86-55 lead with five minutes to play. Whitewater coasted from there and stormed off the court with a look of team poised to make a deep tournament run.
“If we can get defenses to spread with the way Alex (Merg), Quardell (Young) can penetrate and Davis on the inside, we become an effective offensive team,” Miller said. “This is a great sign going into next weekend.”
WHITEWATER 91, ST. THOMAS 62
St. Thomas (62)—DeBerg, 2-2-8; Kaiser, 1-0-2; Nance, 6-5-20; Nord, 5-0-10; Alipate, 2-1-7; Leslie, 2-0-5; Stewart, 1-0-2; Riedeman, 1-0-2; Pella, 3-0-6. Totals: 23-8-62.
Whitewater (91)—Merg, 4-8-17; Odegaard, 9-4-29; Knoble, 0-4-4; Bryson, 2-2-8; Davis, 3-4-11; Young, 4-1-9; Edmunds, 4-3-11; Burns, 1-0-2. Totals: 27-26-91.
St. Thomas 30 32—62
Whitewater 42 49—91
Three-point goals—St. Thomas 8 (DeBerg 2, Nance 3, Alipate 2, Leslie), Whitewater 11 (Merg, Odegaard 7, Bryson 2, Davis). Free throws missed—St. Thomas 4, Whitewater 7. Total fouls—St. Thomas 21, Whitewater 15. Rebounds—St. Thomas 21 (Five players with 3 each), Whitewater 31 (Knoble 9). Assists—St. Thomas 13 (Kaiser 6), Whitewater 13 (Merg, Davis, Young, 3 each).