La Crosse, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse men's basketball team, receiving a vote on the D3hoops.com Top-25 Poll, improved to 5-0 on the season with a 79-71 victory over 20th-ranked Augsburg University (Minn.) Tuesday night in Mitchell Hall in its home opener. The Auggies drop to 2-1 on the season.
In the first-ever meeting between the teams, UWL took a 15-8 lead with 13:49 left in the first half after Zac Haese hit back-to-back three-pointers. He had 11 of the Eagles' first 15 points. Augsburg (Minn.) cut the deficit to 17-14 with 10:53 remaining on a Martin Mitchell three-pointer. UWL responded with an 11-3 run to lead 28-17 with 7:03 left on a Wyatt Cook tip-in and free throw. The Auggies cut it to 31-28 with 3:23 remaining in the first half on Booker Coplin's three-pointer. UWL led, 38-32, at halftime.
The Eagles shot 40.6% from the field in the first half, including 28.6% (four-of-14) from three-point range, and 88.9% (eight-of-nine) at the line. Haese finished the first half with 11 points while Terek Nesheim had eight. Cook added five points and five rebounds in the first 20 minutes. Seven different players scored in the first half for UWL.
Augsburg (Minn.) shot 38.6% from the field in the first half, including 42.9% (six-of-14) from three-point range, and 75.0% (six-of-eight) at the line. Henry Mulligan led the Auggies with 11 points while Coplin and Carter Duncan each had six rebounds.
Cook's layup with 19:35 left in the game gave UWL a 40-32 advantage, but Augsburg (Minn.) scored the game's next 13 points to lead, 45-40 on a Coplin dunk. The Auggies later led, 49-44, on a pair of James Streeter free throws with 12:58 remaining. The Eagles scored 10 straight points to lead 54-49 on a pair of Ethan Anderson free throws with 9:50 left. Mitchell's layup for Augsburg (Minn.) cut it to 58-56 with 7:11 remaining, but two free throws from Haese and back-to-back three-pointers from Ethan Anderson gave UWL a 66-56 lead with 5:10 left. The Eagles led by as many as 12 at 72-60 before the Auggies cut the deficit to 74-68 with 1:25 remaining, but could get no closer the rest of the game.
UWL shot 46.6% from the field, including 38.1% (eight-of-21) from three-point range, and 73.9% (17-of-23) at the line. Ethan Anderson led four starters in double figures for the Eagles with 22 points. Haese finished with 18 points with Nesheim having 12 and Cook 11. Cook also had 11 rebounds. Sean Suchomel finished with seven points and team-high nine rebounds and five assists.
Augsburg (Minn.) shot 39.3% from the field, including 40.0% (12-of-30) from three-point range, and 75.0% (15-of-20) at the line. Coplin led the Auggies with 21 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Mulligan finished with 19 points and four assists and Duncan ended with 10 rebounds.
UWL returns to action Saturday, November 30 hosting Wartburg College (Iowa) at 7 p.m.