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UWRF men advance in WIAC Tourney

UW-River Falls senior Austin Moldenhauer puts up a shot against UW-Whitewater's Derek Rongstad in the second half of the Falcon men's basketball team's 79-68 victory over the Warhawks in the first round of the WIAC Tournament Wednesday, Feb. 21, at Don Page Arena in River Falls. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

The UW-River Falls men's basketball team raced out to an 18-point lead midway through the first half but had to hold on for a 79-68 victory in the first round of the WIAC Tournament Wednesday, Feb. 21, at Page Arena.

The Falcons hit 13 of 15 shots in the first ten minutes, including a pair of three-pointers by Devin Buckley and one each by Alex Herink and Matt Keller, to open up a 31-13 lead. Whitewater made it a 12-point game, 45-33, at halftime and pulled to within one, 64-63, with just under five minutes remaining but Brennan Witt scored the next five points to extend UWRF's lead to six, 69-63, with 3:22 left and back-to-back layups by Julian Jackson in the final minute made it a double-digit game again.

Witt led five Falcons in double figures with 20 points and Buckley scored 17 while Keller had 12, Jackson scored 11 and Clay Siefert had 10.

Whitewater outrebounded the Falcons, 40-25, but UWRF outshot the Warhawks 58.3 percent to 38.3.

The fourth-seeded Falcons, now 17-8 overall, move on to face No. 1 UW-Platteville (22-3) in a WIAC Tournament semifinal game Friday, Feb. 23, in Platteville. No. 3 UW-Oshkosh and No. 2 UW-Stevens Point will meet in the other semifinal. The WIAC Tournament champion will earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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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