Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Warhawks eye second final four in three seasons


March 19, 2014

By Paul Bressler

The UW-Whitewater Warhawks are heading back to Salem as their ticket to the Final Four was punched with a 74-51 victory over the Emory University Eagles in the NCAA Tournament Saturday night.

“Just obviously very proud of this team and happy to be heading back to Salem [Va.],” head coach Pat Miller said. “I thought we played a solid game tonight. I thought Emory really battled. I thought our quickness and maybe a little fatigue on their part was the difference in the game.”

The ’Hawks will make their fifth appearance in the Final Four. The last three Final Four appearances resulted in the ’Hawks winning the whole thing.

The ’Hawks will face Illinois Wesleyan University (27-4) at 5 p.m. on March 21 at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.

Quardell Young

“It’s going to be a battle,” junior guard Quardell Young said. “We’re going to be mentally and physically prepared to play and bring the title back home.”

In the Elite Eight game, the Eagles answered a solid start from the Warhawks by closing out the half with an 8-0 run and led, 26-25, at intermission.

Jake Davis, the Eagles’ leading scorer at nearly 23 points per game, was plagued with early foul trouble and saw only nine minutes of action.

The Eagles, seemingly having the momentum going into halftime, saw the ’Hawks reel off an 11-2 run to open the half.

Two free throws from senior forward Reggie Hearn had the Warhawks’ lead balloon to 20 points, 65-45, with 5:37 left in the game.

The ’Hawks shot a blistering 72 percent in the second half. The Warhawks clamped down on defense and limited the Eagles to 32 percent from the floor.

“In the second half, they attacked us and kind of got us on our heels a little bit,” Davis said. “Credit to them. We never finished strong, quite as well like we did in the first half.”

Evans, who had 21 points in the second half, led all players with 27 points and 11 rebounds.

Eagles head coach Jason Zimmerman was gracious in defeat.

“We didn’t play our best basketball tonight,” Zimmerman said. “A lot of that had to do with Whitewater. They’re very talented.”

The ’Hawks advanced to the Elite Eight with an 81-63 win over the University of Texas-Dallas Friday night in their first of two weekend matchups.

The Warhawks found themselves down early despite holding somewhat of a home court advantage.

A steal and fast break assist by Young to Hearn for the lay in gave the ’Hawks their first lead of the game. The ’Hawks led, 15-14, with 12:47 remaining in the half.

An 8-0 run would follow, and the ’Hawks’ lead increased to 23-14 after an Evans’ jumper.

The ’Hawks closed the first half on a 9-0 run, and their lead stood at 40-26. The Comets did not record a single point in the remaining 3:59 of the half.

The Warhawks’ momentum and halftime lead quickly dissipated in the face of the Comets’ 1-3-1 zone defense in the second half.  The Comets cut the lead to five, 51-46, after a Kyle Schleigh 3-pointer from the left corner at the 12:17 mark.

Ahead 65-60 with 7:34 remaining, the ’Hawks went on a 16-3 run to seal the deal.

The ’Hawks shot 59 percent from the floor while holding the Comets to 44 percent. A 46-18 advantage in the paint told the story on this night.

Evans led all scorers with 22 points while Odegaard scored a season-high 18 on 5-7 from beyond the arc.

Schleigh ended with seven points on 1-8 shooting. The Comets finished their season 27-4.

With a victory in the Final Four, the ’Hawks would face the winner of Amherst College (27-3) vs. Williams College (27-4) at 4:30 p.m. on March 22 in the NCAA D-III national championship game.

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Founded 1901
Warhawks eye second final four in three seasons