Edgewood suprises UW-River Falls
Eagles pick up first victory in NCAA tournament play
RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- Edgewood’s mission has been to accomplish things no Eagle team has ever accomplished. The Eagles added one more historic milestone to their resume with a stunning 75-67 win against No. 17 Wisconsin-River Falls in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The win marked the first tournament win in program history.
The Eagles scored back-to-back layups by Derek Nkemnji, followed by a baseline drive from Jake Guziewski. Two possessions later Guziewski stuck a 3-pointer which put the Eagles ahead 11-9. UW-River Falls would never lead the game again. Those five points by Guziewski were part of a career-high 12 on the night.
Tied at 22 with 4:30 left before halftime Nkemnji drilled a 3-point shot and added a free throw to get the Eagles rolling. Justin Williams scored an inside bucket to answer a Falcon score, before Cashton Craig drilled a 25-foot 3-point shot as the shot clock expired to give Edgewood its largest lead of the night at 33-26, going into halftime.
In the second half, Edgewood College dropped the hammer on UW-River Falls. The Eagles led 43-32 with 14 minutes to play when UW-River Falls' Brian Kimble slipped bringing the ball up the floor. Williams picked up the free ball and finished with a violent dunk.
The slam sparked a 18-5 run, which put the Eagles ahead by 24 at 61-37 with nine minutes to play. Ben Wisniewski hit three jump shots, before Craig drained back-to-back 3-pointers to cap the surge.
The Falcons fought back putting a furious full court trap on the Eagles which created havoc in the backcourt. The Eagles turned the ball over on seven of eight possessions and the Falcons capitalized on each one.
Kimble scored a pair of baskets to bring the home fans back into the game. With three minutes to go Aaron Anderson hit a 3-pointer to get the Falcons back within 10 at 65-55.
The Eagles recovered and seem to have put the game away with a free throw by Wisniewski that made the score 69-57, but the Falcons had one more push left. Anderson hit two more 3-pointers, the second of which got the Falcons to 72-67, but Kent Faurote hit two free throws and rebounded Shane Manor's miss on the other end to seal the victory.
All five Eagle starters scored in double figures led by Nkemnji's 17 points on 6-8 shooting, and making both of his 3-point attempts. He also had eight rebounds. Wisniewski scored 15 points and a handed out a team-high four assists despite being in early foul trouble.
Craig tallied 13 points and hit three 3-pointers and Faurote added 10 points. Williams led the team with nine rebounds. The Eagles shot 60 percent (12-20) from the field in the second half and finished at 52 percent (26-50) for the game. The Eagles went 9-18 from the 3-point line.
Manor led UW-River Falls with 16 points, but shot just 7-19 from the field. Wade Guerin scored 14 points on 6-9 shooting while Anderson added 12, all from the 3-point line. Ollie White had nine points and a team-high nine rebounds. The Falcons shot 43 percent for the game, but suffered through a 5-12 night at the free throw line.
Edgewood becomes the first team from the Northern Athletics Conference to win an NCAA Tournament game in its six-year history.