Basketball splits Tip-Off Tournament

Junior+forward+Trevon+Chislom+%2833%29+shouts+over+to+his+teammates+during+the+game+against+the+University+of+Whitworth+Saturday%2C+Nov.13%2C+2021.

Ky McCombe

Junior forward Trevon Chislom (33) shouts over to his teammates during the game against the University of Whitworth Saturday, Nov.13, 2021.

Sam Strash, Assistant Sports Editor

The UW-Whitewater men’s basketball team (3-1) hosted their annual Tip-Off Tournament at the Kachel Gymnasium on Nov. 12 and 13, facing the Golden Gusties of Gustavus Adolphus University (MN) (0-2) and the Whitworth University (WA) Pirates (3-1).

The Warhawks took the first game of the weekend on Friday night, defeating the Gustavus Adolphus Golden Gusties 86-65. Junior guard Gage Malensek led Whitewater in scoring with 25 points on 10-17 shooting, including one three-point shot made.

The Golden Gusties led by as many as 14 points in the first half but only led by one point at halftime 40-39. The Warhawks pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Golden Gusties by 22 to take their second win of the season.

Following Friday’s game, the Warhawks fell to Whitworth on Saturday by a score of 80-79. Saturday’s first half featured a much more contested first half of action as the Warhawks trailed the Pirates 40-37 at halftime. The teams combined for 24 fouls in the first half. 

“We wanted to keep them (Whitworth) out of transition and I thought we did a pretty good job of that,” said Head Coach Pat Miller, acknowledging the physicality of the game on both ends.

In the second half, the Warhawks opened with a six-point run to take the lead 43-40. This was followed by Whitworth 12-point run, outscoring the Warhawks 22-15 prior to a timeout with 12:05 left in the game. Eventually, Whitworth would lead by 15 points with a score of 67-52 with 10:33 to go in the half.

Even with the large lead in the second half, the Warhawks would work their way out of the deficit, getting the game to within one point. Unlike the previous game, the team would not be able to fully overcome this deficit.

“When we’re engaged, we can play very well,” said Miller. “It’s early in the year, so certainly our consistency is something we need to address to minimize mistakes.”

“We had to play good defense and take the smartest shots possible,” said sophomore guard Derek Gray. “We had to play smart and have no unnecessary turnovers.”

Gray led the Warhawks scoring efforts in Saturday’s game with 22 points. He also had four rebounds and set a season-high for himself with four steals. Combined with Friday night’s game, in which he had three steals, and Saturday’s game, Gray has one less steal in two games than he did in all eight games of the 2020-21 season. 

“The whole team has focused on man defense,” said Gray, attributing his defensive improvements to the team’s improvement. “For myself, mainly, it’s been conditioning and making sure I stayed conditioned so I can play full court and man defense all game and apply pressure.”

“He’s just been very consistent. He’s explosive, he can score on three levels, he’s shooting much better from three than he did last year and defensively he’s a great presence,” said Miller. “Overall, I thought he was excellent.”

The Warhawks also had two other players score in double-digits on Saturday night, with Malensek and junior forward Trevon Chislom scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The team will travel to La Crosse, Wisconsin, to take on the Viterbo University (WI) V-Hawks on Tues. Nov. 23. At the time of writing, the V-Hawks are 3-2, but will play three games prior to their matchup against the Warhawks.

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