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Basketball: Falcons complete sweep of Warhawks

After a disappointing one-point loss to last place UW-Stout Wednesday, Feb. 7, the UW-River Falls men's basketball team completed a season sweep of UW-Whitewater with a 76-66 victory Saturday, Feb. 10, at Page Arena to remain in contention for a home game in the first round of the WIAC Tournament beginning Feb. 21.

Saturday's victory left the Falcons and Warhawks tied for fourth place in the WIAC standings, each at 6-6, with the Falcons holding the tiebreaker with two conference games remaining. UWRF (15-7 overall) will wrap up the regular season at home against UW-Eau Claire (3-9, 11-12) Wednesday, Feb. 14, and at conference co-leader UW-Platteville (10-2, 20-3) Saturday, Feb. 17.

Last Saturday the Falcons held off a late Whitewater charge to beat the Warhawks for the second time this season.

UWRF led by 13, 68-55, with 4 minutes, 40 seconds remaining before the Warhawks closed to within five, 71-66, with 1:06 left. Devin Buckley hit a big three-pointer with 37 seconds remaining then came up with a steal and Alex Herink threw down a dunk with 10 seconds left to make the final 76-66.

After being limited to just three minutes in the first half due to early foul trouble, Herink scored all 18 of his game-high points in the second half while Julian Jackson came off the bench to score 10. Clay Seifert added eight points, eight rebounds and five assists while Buckley, Brennan Witt and Austin Moldenhauer contributed seven points each. Derek Rongstad led Whitewater with 16 points.

The two teams were whistled for a combined 51 fouls in the game, sending UWRF to the free throw line 38 times and Whitewater 26. The Falcons also outrebounded the Warhawks, 43-27.

Earlier in the week in Menomonie, Stout's Adam Mackey hit a jumper with five seconds left to give the Blue Devils (2-10 8-15) an 82-81 victory over the Falcons.

The Falcons led by 12, 61-49, following a layup by Austin Heidecker with 13:11 remaining but Stout came back to take a five-point lead, 78-73, with three minutes left. An 8-2 Falcon run, capped by a three-pointer by Matt Keller with 22 second left put UWRF up by one, 81-80. Mackey's jumper put Stout back up by one and Keller's heave from half court bounced off the rim at the buzzer to give Stout just its second conference win of the season.

The Blue Devils shot 52 percent from the field in the game and were 16-of-28 from beyond the arc.

Herink led the Falcons with 22 points while Witt finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Isaac Elliott led Stout with 25 points. UWRF outrebounded the Blue Devils, 43-20.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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