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Warhawks get into Elite 8

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Tim Wester
March 10, 2012
— Sooner or later, UW-Whitewater was due for a poor shooting half.

After shooting over 60 percent in its first two playoff games, Whitewater relied on its gritty defense and clutch shooting from Alex Edmunds to outlast Wheaton College, 67-56, in an NCAA Division III Sectional semifinal here Friday evening.


Edmunds had 12 of his game-high 16 points in the second half to lead Whitewater, while Chris Davis added 14 and Eric Bryson had 10 to help the Warhawks advance to their first Elite 8 since 1989.


The Warhawks face Virginia Wesleyan tonight at 7. The Marlins punched their ticket to the Elite 8 after knocking off Whitworth, 74-71, in Friday’s other semifinal.


Whitewater, meanwhile, finds itself just one win away from the Final Four after outlasting Wheaton.


“I knew at half when we were up 16 that Wheaton would make a run,” Warhawks coach Pat Miller said. “But I was proud of our poise and the way we played defensively.”


The top-notch Warhawk defense certainly impressed Wheaton coach Mike Schauer.


“Whitewater was the best defense we’ve seen all year, and we’ve seen some good ones,” Schauer said. “I told Pat (Miller) early in the year when I saw them play Whitworth, that this was the best defensive team we’ve seen, and it came back to haunt us.”


The Thunder did a little haunting in the second half when it cut a 16-point halftime deficit to just five, 59-54, with two minutes to play.


But Edmunds slammed the door on the Thunder with a clutch driving layup with 1:40 remaining to make it 61-54. The Thunder managed just two points the rest of the way.


“They (Wheaton) were keying on Chris Davis in the post,” Edmunds said. “So I just kept driving to basket hard every time.”


Said Schauer: “Edmunds was a tough matchup for us tonight. They (Warhawks) exploited that well.”


Davis exploited the Thunder defense early with three straight baskets to put Whitewater ahead, 6-0. The Warhawks dominated from there and built their lead to 36-20 at halftime.


Whitewater cooled off from there, but held on for the victory.


“I was really proud of our defensive effort tonight,” Miller said. “For us to shoot 34 percent from the field in the second half and beat a team like that was quite an accomplishment.”


Whitewater will see if it can accomplish more of the same against Virginia Wesleyan.


UW-WHITEWATER 67, WHEATON 56


Wheaton (56)—Peters, 2-8 0-0 4; Sernius, 5-7 2-2 12; Pflederer, 5-7 1-2 13; Garriott, 3-9 0-1 6; McCrary, 7-18 1-2 15; Schultze, 3-5 0-0 6. Totals: 25-54 4-7 56.


Whitewater (67)—Merg, 0-3 5-6 5; Fischer, 1-2 0-2 3; Young, 3-5 2-3 8; odegaard, 3-7 0-0 7; Knoble, 2-5 0-2 4; Bryson, 3-6 3-4 10; Davis, 6-14 2-2 14; Edmunds, 6-9 4-5 16. Totals: 24-51 16-24 67.


Wheaton 20 36—56


Whitewater 36 31—67


Three-point goals—Wheaton 2-9 (Peters 0-1, Sernius 0-1, Pflederer 2-4, Garriott 0-3), Whitewater 3-15 (Merg 0-2, Fischer 1-2, Odegaard 1-5, Bryson 1-2, Davis 0-4). Rebounds—Wheaton 30 (McCrary 8), Whitewater 31 (Davis 9). Assists—Wheaton 10 (Peters and McCrary, 4 each), Whiteater 10 (Merg 5). Total fouls—Wheaton 18, Whitewater 13.


n Virginia Wesleyan 74, Whitworth 71 (OT)—D.J. Woodmore hit two free throws with 3 seconds left in overtime to help the Marlins advance to tonight’s sectional final game.


Chris Teasly led Virginia Wesleyan (27-3) with 27 points. He was 10 of 18 from the field and added six rebounds. The 6-foot-3 junior averaged 10.9 points a game going into the semifinal.


Felix Friedt led the Pirates (26-4) with 25 points and 10 rebounds.


VA. WESLEYAN 74, WHITWORTH 71 (OT)


Virginia Wesleyan (74)—Vaughn, 9-16 2-2 20; Woodmore, 6-18 2-3 16; Ford, 1-5 0-0 3; Crew, 1-1 0-0 3; Teasley, 10-18 4-5 27; Davis, 0-2 3-5 3; Brown 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 28-64 11-15 74.


Whitworth (71)—McConnell, 4-7 0-0 8; Lasisi, 5-10 0-1 11; Gebbers, 4-10 4-6 12; Larkin, 1-2 0-0 2; Friedt, 7-16 11-12 25; Loofburrow, 5-10 0-0 13. Totals: 26-55 15-19 71.


Virginia Wesleyan 35 26 13—74


Whitworth 30 31 10—71


Three-point goals—Virginia Wesleyan 7-16 (Woodmore 2-6, Ford 1-3, Grew 1-1, Teasley 3-6), Whitworth 4-15 (McConnell 0-1, Lasisi 1-4, Gebbers 0-2, Larkin 0-1, Loofburrow 3-7). Rebounds—Virginia Wesleyan 36 (Davis 8), Whitworth 35 (Friedt 10). Assists—Virginia Wesleyan 7, Whitworth 8 (McConnell 3). Total fouls—Virginia Wesleyan 13, Whitworth 15.



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