The No. 23 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater men's basketball team trailed for most of the second half Saturday night before taking the lead for good in the final minutes of regulation and hanging on for an 87-85 triumph at UW-River Falls in a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game in River Falls, Wis.
The Warhawks (13-4 overall, 2-4 WIAC) took the lead for good with 2:15 to play after a layup by junior forward Riley Jensen, who converted another layup 25 seconds later to push the UW-Whitewater lead to three.
After a layup on the other end by the Falcons (8-9, 1-5), senior guard Andre Brown drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Warhawks a four-point lead with 1:08 remaining.
UW-River Falls drew to within two with 57 seconds to go, and stopped UW-Whitewater on the next possession.
The Falcons had two looks at a game-tying basket in the waning moments, but the Warhawks contested both jumpers to preserve their first win against UW-River Falls since 2015.
Brown posted a team-best 24 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Senior guard Dalton Menke posted 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. Junior guard Tywon Bressler tallied 11 points and four assists, and senior forward Melvin Brown Jr. collected 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
UW-Whitewater shot 51.5 percent from the floor and 11-of-24 (45.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Falcons hit 19-of-22 from the free-throw line compared to 8-of-16 for the Warhawks.
UW-Whitewater held a 10-4 advantage three minutes into the contest following a 3-pointer by senior guard David Sachs. The team held a 16-15 lead with 13:24 on the clock after a 3-pointer by Menke, but UW-River Falls took the lead with a 3-pointer on the next possession.
The two teams traded the lead over the next nine minutes before the Falcons scored 10 straight points and took a 42-32 advantage with 2:56 to go in the first half.
Jensen stopped the run with a layup at the 1:59 mark, and a Sachs layup with 1:08 on the clock brought the Warhawks to within 44-37 at halftime.
In the second half, UW-Whitewater trimmed its deficit to one possession after Brown hit a 3-pointer with 16:55 remaining. Brown hit a jumper two minutes later to bring the team within two, and senior guard Mitchell Pfeifer gave the Warhawks their first lead of the period at 56-55 with 12:46 to play.
UW-River Falls took the lead back on the next possession and built its lead to as many as eight. UW-Whitewater continued to keep it within three possessions, and took its first lead since the 12:46 mark after Brown hit a 3-pointer with 3:21 left.
The Falcons retook the lead with a 3-point play 50 seconds later before Jensen put the Warhawks ahead for good.
UW-Whitewater concludes the first half of the WIAC slate Wednesday at 7 p.m. against UW-Platteville at Kachel Gymnasium.