Warhawks win fourth men's basketball national title

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Gene Marrano, Special to The Gazette
Saturday, March 22, 2014

SALEM, Va.—Quardell Young had 4.9 seconds to dribble the length of the court with the NCAA Division III championship on the line.

The UW-Whitewater guard needed only 4 seconds.

The lightning-quick junior out of Kenosha Bradford sped his way through the Williams College defense and sank a layup that led to a 75-73 victory and the fourth Division III national championship in school history.

Young's mad-dash basket and subsequent free throw capped a back-and-forth second half. Williams took a 73-72 lead on a tip-in with 4.9 seconds left.

“To be honest I thought we won the national championship,” Williams' Duncan Robinson said.

Young responded with his “not-so-fast” dash up the left sideline and then to the hoop.

“When they made the tip-in, they were scrambling, so the floor was spaced,” Young said of his 94-foot dash.

Warhawks coach Pat Miller liked the odds once he saw the Young get the ball and go.

“Our best opportunity is to get the ball in his hands and let him attack a defense that hasn't gotten set,” Miller said.

The junior guard calmly sank the free throw to give Whitewater a 75-73 lead, and Williams couldn't pull off a desperation heave by Robinson.

Miller always lets his team go instead of calling a timeout to set up a shot.

“I decided that about 15 years ago,” he said. “Our best opportunity is to get the ball in (Young's hands). I knew he would get to the rim.”

The Warhawks overcame a Williams height advantage in part by sinking 8 of 15 3-point shots.

It was Miller's second title as head coach of his alma mater in the past three seasons.

“I'm thrilled for these guys,” the Janesville native said.

Evans, a junior guard, was named Most Outstanding Player, leading the way with 22 points Saturday to go along with his 30-point performance in Friday's semifinals.

“It's the opportunity of a lifetime,” the Beloit Memorial graduate said.

Young was also named to the Final Four All-Tournament team along with Elkhorn native Eric Bryson.

Two long runs dominated the first-half storyline.

After knotting the score at 9-9, Whitewater surged to a 30-17 lead. Reggie Hearn doubled his total scoring output from the night before during that stretch with six points to lead the charge.

Williams climbed right back in with a 16-5 run of its own to trail Whitewater 35-33 before Hearn hit another shot in the paint to give the Warhawks a 37-33 halftime lead.

The Warhawks pulled ahead by seven points at 49-42 before Williams went on a 12-2 tear to go up 56-52 with 10 minutes left.

Bryson's layup tied the game at 69 with 2:35 left.

Bryson then traveled and committed a personal foul in short order; two foul shots by Robinson put Williams up 71-69.

The Warhawk senior guard made up for those infractions by draining a 3-point shot to give the Warhawks a 72-71 edge with 55 seconds to play.

Steve Egan stole a pass intended for Michael Mayer and called time out with 35 seconds left.

Bryson missed the front end of a 1-and-1, then Mayer tipped in a Robinson shot attempt for a 73-72 Williams lead with 4.9 seconds left.

Then Young began his courtlong journey to the national title.

“A heartbreaking loss to say the least,” Williams head coach Mike Maker said afterwards. His Ephs hit just 4 of 15 3-point shots. “They're very physical, and they challenged us from the arc.”

As is the case during the Division III football championship game also played in Salem, Whitewater (29-4) was well represented by its purple-clad fans. They chanted “U-Dub-Dub,” for much of the title game. They will head home happy.

Elkhorn's Bryson contributes to win

Eric Bryson had the best finish than he could have ever imagined to his college basketball career.

Bryson contributed a big 3-point basket down the stretch and then watched Quardell Young go the length of the court for a game-winning layup in the Warhawks’ 75-73 victory in the NCAA Division III title game here Saturady.

Bryson finishes his college career with two national title rings. He was a sophomore when the Warhawks won the 2012 national championship.

“This one’s definitely way better,” said Bryson.

Bryson scored 13 points in Saturday’s victory. He was 5-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

His layup with 2:37 left tied the game at 69-all, and his 3-pointer from the wing put the Warhawks up 72-71 with 54 seconds left.

Bryson also grabbed six rebounds, dished out six assists—with just one turnover—and had two steals.

“Great way to go out my senior season,” said Bryson.

UW-Whitewater women third

UW-Whitewater women's basketball team defeated Tufts, 72-54, to finish third in the NCAA Division III Championship at Stevens Point.

Senior guard Mary Merg became UW-Whitewater's all-time leading scorer by scoring 30 points to surpass Jody Landish (1991-95) with 1,378 career points.

UW-W finishes 27-5 in their second consecutive trip to the Final Four.

Merg made 12 of 16 free throws to lead the Warhawks to the third-place trophy.

Brodhead native Kristen Ruchti added a double-double with 15 points and 13 boards. 

Last updated: 3:34 pm Sunday, March 23, 2014

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