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UW-Whitewater men stay in first

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Tim Wester/Special to The Gazette
January 31, 2008
— Pat Miller, the UW-Whitewater men’s basketball coach, didn’t have to yell to get his point across to his struggling team.

After watching Myles McKay miss a breakaway layup early in the first half against UW-La Crosse, Miller ripped off his suit jacket and turned away from his team.


Whitewater promptly followed Miller’s quiet tirade with an inspired 16-2 run that set the tone for an 80-67 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over the Eagles here Wednesday night at Kachel Gym.


Matt Goodwin and McKay led the way with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Kori Vernon added 14, and Billy Kolinske scored 13 to keep Whitewater (15-3, 8-2) in a first-place tie with UW-Platteville in the WIAC.


The Pioneers kept pace with the Warhawks by knocking off UW-Oshkosh, 71-55.


Meanwhile, Miller said he is just trying to get his team to play a complete basketball game.


“I don’t understand when we play at home, we don’t come out and play with energy,” Miller said.


“This is a very important week for us, playing against two teams in the middle of the pack (La Crosse and Eau Claire on Saturday) in home games that are pretty much must-wins if we want to contend for a conference championship. But we got away with it tonight.”


The Warhawks’ coach was referring to La Crosse (9-10, 4-6) storming out to an early 15-6 lead. Whitewater eventually got within 15-10 before McKay missed a wide-open layup with 11 minutes left in the half.


The blown layup, however, turned out to be the beginning of a huge Whitewater run that led to a 37-26 halftime advantage. Freshman guard Phil Negri came off the bench to lead the charge with two clutch three-pointers.


“Negri got the LaMont Weaver speech that I got my sophomore year as a player,” Miller said. “Basically the speech is, ‘You’re going to be the first player off the bench, and if you’re open, you better shoot it. And hopefully you’ll make it, and you might get to stay in. And if not, it’s going to be a short night for you.’ ”


McKay followed Negri’s lead in the second half with three consecutive three-pointers to help put Whitewater up 51-31 with 16 minutes left.


Whitewater led by as many as 23 before the Eagles got within 67-53 with 5:06 left.


But it wasn’t enough for La Crosse, which later surrendered a 10-4 run that put the game out of reach.


“We were just trying to get in the home swing tonight,” Vernon said. “Once we got it rolling, we were good.”


Andrew Haass paced the Eagles with 18 points, while Tony Mane added 14, and Chris Fehrenbach scored 13.


WHITEWATER 80, LA CROSSE 67


La Crosse (67)—Mane 5-16 1-2 14, Fehrenbach 5-14 1-1 13, Brown 2-9 2-2 6, Haass 7-10 2-2 18, Kegler 4-7 0-0 12, Milsap 1-1 2-2 4. Totals: 24-57 8-9 67.


Whitewater (80)—Goodwin 5-13 4-6 16, Myles 5-10 2-2 15, Koski 3-4 3-4 10, Vernon 5-8 4-5 14, Kolinske 4-7 4-5 13, Negri 2-2 0-0 6, Mitchell 2-6 2-3 6, King 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 26-51 19-25 80.


UW-La Crosse 26 41—67


UW-Whitewater 37 43—80


Three-point goals—La Crosse 11-21 (Mane 3-8, Fehrenbach 2-7, Haass 2-2, Kegler 4-4). Whitewater 9-14 (Goodwin 2-4, Myles 3-6, Koski 1-1, Kolinske 1-1, Negri 2-2). Fouled out—none. Rebounds—La Crosse 24 (Fehrenbach 5), Whitewater 38 (Vernon 7). Assists—La Crosse 17 (Mane, Brown 4), Whitewater 12 (Koski, Kolinske 3). Total fouls—La Crosse 19, Whitewater 13.



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