One-and-done for men’s basketball

Tyler Job, Sports Editor

The UW-W men’s basketball team had to go on a final regular season run just to reach the playoffs for a 21st consecutive season and snuck into the postseason.

But the Warhawks could not carry their momentum over to the postseason, losing on the road to UW-Platteville 77-60 in the first round of the WIAC tournament. The loss effectively ends their season after finishing 17-9 overall and 6-8 in the WIAC.

Whitewater struggled scoring all game, especially in the first half.The team shot just 14 percent from the field on three field goals and trailed 29-17 entering halftime.

“We set the tone terribly, especially in the first half,” head coach Pat Miller said. “We dug ourselves a bit of a hole.”

Shots started falling more frequently for the Warhawks in the second half. Despite being behind by 12 with just over 10 minutes to go, the Hawks went on a 6-0 run in less than two minutes to trim Platteville’s lead to 51-45. Four of those points came from two mid range jump shots from senior guard Andre Brown.

But the Pioneers re-extended their lead to 10 with 6:55 left and never surrendered the lead the rest of the way.

“We just weren’t able to sustain a run in the second half,” Miller said.

The Warhawks made 46 percent of their total shots and 36 percent behind the arc in the second half but shot just 34 percent for the game.

Brown led Whitewater in scoring with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Junior guard Tywon Bressler scored 12 points, while senior guards Dalton Menke and Derek Rongstad registered 11 each.

UW-W started the non-conference season 11-0 but could not get over the hump throughout the entire conference season.

Miller noted the series of injuries impacting the team that made it harder to win games.

“I think our overall health was an issue,” Miller said. “We lacked consistency when you have injuries like that…Last night Dave Sachs and Mitch Pfeifer were both sick. Dave [Sachs] actually has influenza that we just found out today.”

Despite the team’s setbacks, Miller noted his appreciation coaching the seniors this season.

“They’re a great group of guys,” Miller said. “I really enjoyed coaching them…They’ve done a lot of good things in the community…I really will miss working with those guys.”

Senior forward Melvin Brown Jr. led the team in scoring this season with 14.3 points per game. Andre Brown was second in scoring at 12 points per game.

“What is going to be critical now is the offseason,” Miller said. “We’ve got guys that potentially could be very good players. We certainly need to get stronger. We need to improve skill level. The work really begins now.”

The 2018-19 season marked the second season in a row the Warhawks finished 6-8 in conference. Prior to the 2017-18 season the ‘Hawks had never finished below .500 in the WIAC schedule during Miller’s tenure at Whitewater.