Men’s Basketball: Warhawks take care of Blue Devils, eye No. 1-ranked Pointers

 

Feb. 1

By Daniel Schoettler

Despite a second half surge by the UW-Stout Blue Devils, the Warhawks men’s basketball team came up victorious Saturday night with a 70-59 win in Kachel Gymnasium.  At halftime, the team honored the 1984 and 1989 national championship teams.

The Warhawks started out the game with an 8-1 run that lasted over five minutes.  After the run by the ’Hawks, UW-Stout went on a run of their own going on a 13-2 run that gave them the lead at 14-11 with 11:20 left in the first half.

After both teams traded baskets, senior Alex Merg hit a three-pointer that sparked 19-3 run giving the Warhawks a 13 point lead.  The team was able to extend the lead to 17 at 41-24 going into halftime.

The ’Hawks were able to hold onto its double-digit lead in the opening minutes of the second half.  The Blue Devils cut it to seven on two separate occasions in the second half with the last coming at the 5:37 mark of the game. 

After that, the Warhawks were able to get the lead back up to double-digits for the remainder of the game.

“I thought we had a number of players step up in different areas,” head coach Pat Miller said.  “I felt our perimeter defense was great, Alex Merg, Patrick Souter, Eric Bryson were excellent on the perimeter.  Reggie Hearn inside battled very well, had 10 points but drew attention for other people. He defended really well and KJ Evans gave us a lift and gave us some energy.”

The ’Hawks had four players in double figures led by senior KJ Evans with 19 points.  Junior guard Quardell Young and Bryson both had 11 points, and senior Reggie Hearn had 10 points.

“With this team, it’s never been one guy,” Miller added.  “It’s been different guys on different nights and even different segments of games.  We were struggling offensively in the second half. Quardell got going, got some action to the basket, which really helped us out.  With this team it’s never one guy, it’s a collective effort.”

The Warhawks shot 52.2 percent from field, despite not hitting a single 3-pointer for the game.  UW-Stout shot 47.6 percent from the field, and hit half the 3-pointers they attempted.

Both teams shot well from the free throw line with the ’Hawks shooting 71 percent and the Blue Devils shooting 72.2 percent.

Miller’s team improved to 17-3 overall and are now 8-3 in WIAC play. The Warhawks next host the top-ranked team in Division III in UW-Stevens Point, who is undefeated at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Kachel Gym.

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