Men’s Basketball: ‘Hawks Win Fifth in a Row, Two Games Remain in WIAC Play

 

By Kevin Cunningham

 

The Warhawks men’s basketball team might be one game behind UW-Stevens Point in the WIAC standings, but they stayed hot Saturday, with a 84-53 win over UW-Superior. If the win proved anything, it is that the ’Hawks are clicking at the perfect time.

“I think that over the last month we’ve gradually been improving,” head coach Pat Miller said. “I think this home stand has been good, because we could watch more tape and get more done. We’re definitely moving in a good direction.”

After a 69-66 loss to UW-Superior on Jan. 12, the ’Hawks had an extra boost of motivation heading into Saturday’s game. Defense was stressed by Miller coming into the game, and it showed, as three of the Yellowjackets’ top scorers combined for 15 points.

“It’s just getting guys to understand where they’re supposed to be and what our defensive scheme is,” Miller said. “Our defense was great. Especially after the beginning of the second half, you have that tendency to let down going up big at half time, and then we came out and didn’t give them any hope.”

The entire game was based on a number of scoring runs. The ’Hawks went on an 8-0 run half way through the first half to push their lead up to 10 at 19-9, then UW-Superior  made a quick 8-0 run to close the lead to 24-20 with 4:56 remaining in the first half. The ’Hawks then answered with their own run over the final few minutes, pushing their lead to 41-27. The bench play was efficient throughout the game, as sophomore guard KJ Evans totaled 14 points to go along with nine rebounds in only 20 minutes of play.

“It was a good game all around for us,” Evans said, “The bench was really into the game, and the fans were really into the game. We just try to come out and play hard defensively and everything else will fall into place.”

Following Saturday’s victory the ’Hawks have won five straight games, and haven’t allowed an opponent to score more than 63 points during that stretch. Much like last year, the team is peaking heading into the WIAC tournament, which is what every team wants to do heading into postseason play.

“We’re definitely starting to click,” Evans said, “We have a lot more chemistry than we did at the beginning of the year, so we’re hoping to build on this heading into the tournament.”

Sophomore point guard Quardell Young and freshman forward Darnell Harris have been playing well as of late for the ’Hawks, and Miller was quick to point out that he has a lot of confidence in not only his younger stars, but the entire team.

“I think that, to a certain point he [Harris] can certainly be a go-to guy,” Miller said, “I think that the advantage that we have with this team is that we have a number of guys depending on matchups, or the type of game it is that we can go to, so that’s definitely a strength of this team.”

The ’Hawks have two games remaining before the WIAC tournament begins on Feb. 19. The first of the two will be played Wednesday, Feb. 13, against UW-Oshkosh in Oshkosh, Wis. and the last game will be against UW-River Falls at 4 p.m. this Saturday in Whitewater.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email