SAN ANTONIO — No. 16 Wisconsin-Whitewater topped No. 8 Whitworth 76-61 Wednesday afternoon in the National Invitational Tournament.
The Warhawks trailed early, down 7-0 at 18:03, and Whitworth continued its fast start, making six of its first seven field goal attempts.
UW-W’s defense tightened and Whitworth missed their next five shots allowing Whitewater to pull to within two.
The Warhawks saw the deficit at two points two other times in the half, at 6:46 trailing 20-18 and again 2:28 down 26-24. The bucket at 2:28 was the last score of the half for UW-W.
Whitewater came out of the locker room on fire for the second half. Sophomore guard Cody Odegaard nailed two quick 3-pointers and senior forward Chris Davis followed with an old-fashioned three-point play to knot the game for the first time at 33-33.
Junior forward Mack Larkin answered with back-to-back threes, extending the Whitworth lead back to six.
Odegaard dropped another three in less than five minutes to pull the Warhawks to within two, 41-39 with 15:37 remaining.
The hot hands went cold momentarily until freshman guard Quardell Young used a steal and a fastbreak layup to tie the game for the second time at 41-41.
The teams traded points until a 7-0 Warhawk run gave UW-W its first lead of the game and extended the gap to six points, 50-44 with 10:00 left on the clock.
Idris Lasisi then drilled a 3-pointer but the Warhawks answered with Davis and Odegaard teaming up on three layups, including another three-point play from Odegaard to extend the lead to 55-47 at 8:33.
Young joined in the action 30 seconds later registering his own three-point play to give UW-W its largest lead of the game 58-49.
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The Warhawks were able to grab a double-digit lead with 6:41 showing on the clock. From here on the game began to get away from the Pirates. UW-W improved to 10-1 on the season and handed Whitworth its second loss as they fell to 7-2.
Whitewater increased its shooting percentage with efficient scoring in the second half bringing the game total to 24-52 (46 percent) from the field.
The Warhawks’ defense stiffened in the second half to hold the Pirates to 17-41 (42 percent) from the field. UW-W also used a 19-11 turnover gap to their advantage.
Davis led the Warhawks with 22 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Alex Merg and Odegaard scored 14 points and Odegaard added three steals. Young rounded out the double-digit scorers with 13.
Lasisi was the game-high scorer with 25 points, including 4-4 from 3-point range and added eight rebounds. Senior center Felix Friedt grabbed a game high nine rebounds.