‘Hawks lose to Division-II team

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Nov. 19, 2014 By Paul Bressler

Cardinal Stritch University Wolves upset the No. 1-ranked UW-Whitewater men’s basketball team 71-66 on Nov. 15 in what was the unveiling of the Warhawks’ 2014 National Championship banner.

“What I learned after 2012 [is] it’s difficult to turn the page on that,” head coach Pat Miller said. “Even if you’re not talking about it, everybody else is. You need to do those ceremonial things, which are great, but the reality is this is a new team, it’s a new year, different dynamics, and different personnell.”

The ’Hawks began their season opener by holding a small lead for the first 10 minutes of the first half. The team saw its lead grow to as many as six points at the 11:12 mark after a jumper by senior guard Cody Odegaard. CSU answered with a lay up at the 9:30 mark to tie the game.

With 3:34 remaining before halftime the ’Hawks found itself trailing, 23-24, for the first time since the opening bucket by Wolves’ junior center Isaac Quinn. UW-W found itself in a one point-deficit, 31-32, before heading into the locker room.

“I felt we came out decent,” senior guard Quardell Young said. “We had a small lead in the first half, but we lost it. After that we were just kind of playing from behind. We were really stagnant on offense, and we didn’t have that fire on defense.”

CSU’s bench played a pivotal role in the first half, accounting for 16 points. The Wolves’ size also was a problem for the ’Hawks, as the team gave up 20 points in the paint.

“They had huge size,” Young said. “They had great size. Their bigs played well, and they’re pretty fundamental. They rebounded well and killed us on the glass.”

Odegaard led all scorers in the first half with 11 points on four of five shooting including two of three from distance. Young had eight points of his own in the first half.

The second half played out in a battle of runs. CSU opened the half with a 12-4 spurt and gave itself a nine-point lead following a tip-in by freshman forward Damian Stoneking at the 14:24 mark.

On the verge of a double-digit deficit, the ’Hawks quickly responded with a 7-2 run and pulled itself within four, following a Young layup with a little less than 12 minutes remaining in the game. The Wolves answered with four quick points and pushed their lead back to eight.

With under 10 minutes to play, the ’Hawks went on a huge 11-4 run to pull within one point, after Young connected on one from the line.

“It was just defensive stops,” Young said. “We couldn’t get consecutive stops. We would get one or two and then get the lead down to two or three points, a one possession game, and then all of a sudden they would score two, three times in a row. They did a good job of finding the offensive players that could score in crunch time.”

With the momentum against them, the Wolves did everything but put the game officially away. The ’Hawks found themselves down eight points, with only 3:41 left in the contest.

The ’Hawks battled back and closed the gap to just four following two free throws by senior forward KJ Evans with just 24 ticks on the clock. An Odegaard layup with 10 seconds remaining pulled the team within three points.

CSU senior guard Chad Mazur sealed the game with two free throws and gave the Wolves a 71-66 victory over the defending D-III champs.

“I thought they did a great job on the glass,” Miller said. “Their size and length gave us difficulties. We didn’t finish as well around the basket. We were outrebounded by a pretty significant margin.”

Young, a preseason D-III honorable mention according to d3hoops.com, led all scorers with 22 points on 6 of 15 shooting. Young got to the line 13 times and made 10 of them. Odegaard finished with 17 points, but missed all four  3-point attempts in the second half. Evans, a preseason first team All-American, posted a team-high nine rebounds to go with his 13 points.

The ’Hawks shot a dismal 38 percent from the floor. The team also missed 19 of its 42 free throw attempts. Conversely, the Wolves shot 50 percent from the field but also struggled from the line (15-30).

“I wanted to be tested early [and] see where we’re at,” Miller said. “We obviously have some newer players to the program. I wanted to throw them to the fire, so to speak, [and] see how they’d respond.”

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