Junior forward Mitchell Pfiefer scored 22 points in just 16 minutes to lead the Warhawks to a much-need 74-55 victory over the UW-Stout Blue Devils. The win came days after UW-W dropped a key game to WIAC leader UW-Stevens Point.
Pfiefer, who’s been battling a series of injuries as of late, said that he wasn’t feeling his best heading into the contest against the Blue Devils, but that all went away once he hit the court.
“I was off in warm-ups. As soon as I got in the game, it’s all muscle memory. Once you see one go in, you’re fine, and it continued.” Pfiefer said.
Pfiefer scored his 22 points on just 11 shots as he knocked down six 3’s, but he wasn’t the only Warhawk who had the deft touch from beyond the arc. Junior guard Dalton Menke also nailed six three-pointers of his own. As a team the Warhawks shot 16 of 31 from three point range.
“Our point guards, Andre and David, found me early. That continued throughout the game. When you see the first couple go in as a shooter, the rest of the game comes easy,” Menke said.
Eleven of those made 3s came in the first half as the Warhawks built the lead up to 20 points before heading into the break up 46-29.
The Blue Devils came out of the second half on a 17-9 run to cut the Warhawks’ lead to single digits with ten minutes remaining. UW-W was able to close the game on 19-9 run over the final 10 minutes of the game. The run was capped off by a Menke three with 42 seconds left in the game.
“We always seem to start the second half slower than the first,” Menke said. “Once we found a rhythm, it came to us. We got a few stops when we needed them, and got a few buckets. We pushed through, worked as a team and won the game.”
This trend of starting the second half slowly has already cost the Warhawks a couple conference games earlier this season, but Warhawks’ head coach Pat Miller was happy with the way his team responded to the Blue Devils’ second half run.
“We missed some easy shots, we missed some layups and had some defensive breakdowns, but we answered their run well,” Miller said.
At this point in the season every game for the Warhawks is crucial as they head into the WIAC tournament and potentially the DIII national tournament. With just four games left the Warhawks (16-5, 6-4) are tied for third place in the conference. UW-W’s next game will be against the team that’s tied with them in that third place spot, UW-Oshkosh.
“We have to treat every game like a playoff game,” Pfiefer said
The Warhawks beat UW-O 83-57 in both team’s first conference game of the season. In that contest Pfiefer scored 22 points, and the Warhawks held the Titans to 36 percent shooting from the field. Since that point the Warhawks have gone 5-4 compared to the Titans 6-3.
The game against the No. 18 Titans tips off at 7 p.m. on Feb. 17 at Kachel Gymnasium, where the Warhawks have dropped three of their last five games.