WHITEWATER, WIS. — Wisconsin-Whitewater broke from the gate with a 13-2 run to establish a lead that Wheaton (Ill.) was never able to recover from on Friday. UW-Whitewater, 26-4, will play Virginia Wesleyan, 27-3, on Saturday.
Whitewater senior center Chris Davis scored the first six points of the game on the way to the 13-2 lead. Wheaton recovered to close the gap to five points twice, the second at 17-12 at 10:01. The Warhawks inched up the margin, and then closed the half with a 9-2 surge to take a 36-20 halftime lead.
Whitewater shot 60 percent from the field in the first half, continuing the shooting that propelled them to regional wins last week when the Warhawks shot 69 percent in their win against Northwestern (Minn.) and 61 percent in a win against Saint Thomas.
Wheaton turned the tables in the second half, starting with an 11-2 run that saw Whitewater’s lead shrink to 38-31 at 15:34. Whitewater’s lead vacillated from seven to 10 points for the next five minutes. The Thunder pulled within 59-54 at the end of a 6-0 run with 1:59 left, but UW-W closed out the game 8-2 as Wheaton was forced to foul to stop the clock.
Whitewater forced 20 Wheaton turnovers. The Warhawks also made the most of the free-throw attempts, hitting 16-24 while Wheaton shot seven, making four.
Senior forward Alex Edmunds led both teams with 16 points for UW-W. Davis added 14 and a game-high nine rebounds, with sophomore guard Eric Bryson adding 10 points and a game-high four steals. Wheaton was led by senior forward Tim McCrary with 15 points and eight rebounds. Jeremy Pflederer and Nate Serenius, a senior and junior guard, added 13 and 12 points respectively.
Wheaton ends the season 23-7.