UWW MEN’S BASKETBALL... Warhawks Advance to Sweet Sixteen National Tournament
Sophomore guards Cody Odegaard and Alex Merg combined for 46 points as UW-Whitewater defeated the University of Saint Thomas 91-62 in a NCAA Division III championship tournament second round game Saturday night in Williams Center in Whitewater. Whitewater, 25-4, advances to the sweet sixteen of the tournament, which will continue with sectional play Friday and Saturday, March 9-10 at a site to be announced Monday.
UW-Whitewater will be joined in the sectional by Wheaton College (IL), 23-6, a 73-62 winner over Edgewood College; Whitworth College, 26-3, a 64-53 winner over Trinity (TX), and Virginia Wesleyan, 26-3, a 70-55 winner over Saint Mary's (MD) Saturday night.
Saint Thomas jumped out front 7-0 with the help of five points from junior guard John Nance. Whitewater finally got on the board at 18:14 on a three from sophomore guard Alex Merg, which started a 10-0 run that put the Warhawks up 10-7 at 16:14. Freshman guard Quardell Young tipped in his own missed layup to give UW-W its first double digit lead, 28-18 with 8:56 on the clock. A Young steal and length of the court drive that ended with a dunk gave Whitewater its largest lead of the half, 35-18 at 8:44. A layin by Merg with 2:26 left in the half equaled that margin, 40-23. The teams went into the lockerroom with Whitewater in front, 42-30.
Whitewater, collectively, continued to have a hot hand. The Warhawks just 59% from the floor in the half, on the heels of shooting 69% in Friday's win over Northwestern. Whitewater also made 11-12 free throws, and had a 17-8 rebound advantage. Junior guard John Nance led both teams with 17 points, hitting all three of his shots beyond the arc and going 4-4 from the line.
Odegaard took control out of the gate in the second half, scoring nine of the first eleven points for UW-W, to give the Warhawks a 53-37 lead at 17:19. Sophomore guard Eric Bryson's two free throws at 16:54 extended the lead to 55-37. Junior forward Luke Knoble inched it to 19 with a free throw at 14:22, 59-40. Another three by Odegaard pushed the lead to 62-40 with 13:39 on the clock, and senior forward Alex Edmunds bumped it up to 65-42 with 11:37 left. At 10:16 senior center Chris Davis connected on two free throws to give UW-W a 69-44 lead, and Odegaard's layin at 8:39 made it 73-46. With 6:50 remaining Odegaard hit another three, his fifth in the half, to give Whitewater a 30 points margin, 81-51.
Whitewater shot 61% from the field, also 61% (11-18) on threes, and 26-33 (79%) from the line. Saint Thomas shot 44% from the floor, 47% on three-pointers, and 8-12 (67%) at the line. UW-W out rebounded the Tommies 31-21. Odegaard led the way with 29 points, a career high, hitting on 9-11 shots, 7-8 from three point range. Merg didn't miss a shot, hitting 4-4 from the field, 1-1 at the arc, and 8-8 from the line for 17 points, also a career high. Nance ended up with 20 for UST.
UW-W, making its seventeenth NCAA III tournament appearance, advances to the sweet sixteen for the first time since 1996.
For additional information: Pat Miller, UW-W coach, 262-472-1146 or email@example.com