|Ben Meinholz and the UW-La Crosse Eagles grounded the UW-Whitewater Warhawks in the WIAC opener for both teams on Wednesday night.
UW-La Crosse athletics photo
Conference play began in the WIAC where UW-La Crosse knocked off No. 11 UW-Whitewater and resumed in the CCIW where Carthage dumped No. 10 North Park. In the NJAC, No. 19 Ramapo survived a scare at Rutgers-Camden but No. 23 New Jersey City was less fortunate at Montclair State.
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- Wednesday news releases: Men | Women
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- Around the South: Khory Moore grows into star for Virginia Wesleyan
UW-Whitewater ripped through its non-conference season without any trouble, going 11-0 with all but one win decided by double-digits. Conference play will prove tougher, and the Warhawks lost to defending champions UW-La Crosse 82-68. The Eagles (9-3, 1-0 WIAC) seized control for good on a 13-3 run midway through the first half that was keyed by reserve Sean Wheeler scoring seven points in less than two minutes. Wheeler finished with just those seven points, but Ben Meinholz notched 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists for La Crosse. The Warhawks (11-0, 0-1 WIAC) scored 48 of their 68 points in the paint.
No. 17 UW-River Falls pulled out a one-point win at home over No. 7 UW-Eau Claire on Alex Herink's three-pointer with 13 seonds left. Eau Claire took the lead in the closing minutes when George Diekelman poked the ball away from the Falcons on an entry pass and started a fast break finished by Chris Duff's layup. The Blugolds missed a chance to extend the lead from the free throw line and Herink tried a hook shot on the Falcons' ensuing possession that was knocked away. River Falls called time out and set up an inbounds pass to Herink who hit a well-defended three from the corner, just in front of River Falls' bench. Eau Claire failed to get a good look on its last possession and the Falcons celebrated the 60-59 win.
Herink finished with 23 points on 9-for-17 shooting for River Falls (11-1, 1-0 WIAC). Josh Weix led Eau Claire (10-2, 0-1 WIAC) with 17 points.
No. 10 North Park dropped its second straight CCIW contest at home as Carthage topped the Vikings 82-76 in Chicago. The Red Men shot 55 percent (16-for-29) and outscored North Park 48-32 in the second half. Mike Stevenson tallied 18 points and 12 rebounds for Carthage (9-3, 3-1 CCIW) which moved into a tie for first place with Augustana. Those Vikings won 82-71 at North Central (Ill.) as four Augustana starters scored double-figures.
Two NJAC teams entered the Top 25 this week and both struggled on Wednesday night. No. 19 Ramapo trailed winless Rutgers-Camden by 20 points at the half but rallied for a 94-86 victory. Sultan Aminu and Christopher Mosely scored 15 points apiece for the Roadrunners (12-0, 6-0 NJAC). No. 23 New Jersey City wasn't as fortunate as the Gothic Knights lost at Montclair State 48-46. The two teams shot a combined 31 percent from the field (29-for-94), including 24 percent from three (10-for-42). Box score
The rest of the Top 25 had an easier time, including top ranked Babson. The Beavers romped over Emerson 100-76 in the conference opener for both teams. Nick Comenale and Isaiah Nelson combined for 48 points on 20-for-26 shooting. Elsewhere in the NEWMAC Jake Ross continued his case for freshman of the year as he dropped 29 points in Springfield's 71-63 win over WPI.
Division III's top-scoring player (Ty Sabin) took on the second-highest scoring team in the country (Grinnell), and the result was a relatively pedestrian win for Ripon, 98-82. Sabin finished with 16 points, less than half of his 32.4 average entering the night. The Pioneers scored 45 points below their 127.7 season average.
St. Thomas moved one-game back of Bethel in the MIAC as the Tommies topped the Royals 83-74 on the road. John Veil set career-highs with 27 poins and 12 assists for St. Thomas (8-3, 4-2 MIAC). The Tommies held Bethel (9-2, 5-1 MIAC) to one field goal and five points in the game's final six minutes.
Daniel Noe's three-pointer from the top of the key lifted Randolph-Macon to a victory over Virginia Wesleyan, 67-63. Noe scored 20 points for the Yellow Jackets (7-5, 3-0 ODAC). Guilford kept pace with a 73-57 win at home over Roanoke.
Tony Canonie's driving layup with a second left gave Calvin a 66-64 win over Trine and Kevin Vande Streek his 400th career victory as the Knights' head coach. Vande Streek has 481 career victories including his wins at Division II Sioux Falls.
Conference play opened in the MAC Freedom where defending champions Delaware Valley pulled away from King's 74-64. On the other side of the MAC, Lebanon Valley snapped Lycoming's nine game winning streak by beating the Warriors 80-72 in Williamsport.