WHITEWATER, Wisc. — Wisconsin-Whitewater defeated Virginia Wesleyan 76-62 on Satureday night to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
Virginia Wesleyan scored the first basket of the game, and Whitewater followed with a 15-1 run that put UW-W in front 15-3 at 15:44. The Marlins cut the deficit to single digits at 20-11 with 10:43 left in the first half, but Whitewater upped the margin to thirteen on three separate occasions in the rest of the half, the last coming at 6:27 with the score 30-17. The Marlins cut their deficit to 34-26, but UW-W went into the locker room leading 36-26.
Warhawk sophomore guard Cody Odegaard scored 17 points in the first half, hitting his first five 3-point attempts. Senior center Chris Davis chipped in with 10 points for UW-Whitewater. Senior forward Donald Vaughn led the Marlins with 10 first-half points of his own.
Virginia Wesleyan scored the first point of the second half, lowering the deficit to nine, but that was the last time that UW-W did not hold a double-digit lead. The Warhawks’ lead reached 18 points four times in the second half, the last at 76-58 with 40 seconds remaining.
Whitewater shot 53 percent from the field compared to Virginia Wesleyan shooting 43 percent. UW-W was 7-of-13 from beyond the arc while the Marlins hit 2-of-10 3-point attempts on the night. The Warhawks took advantage of strong free-throw shooting as well, hitting 15-of-21 while Virginia Wesleyan went 10-of-20 at the stripe.
Davis recorded his ninth double-double of the season, scoring 33 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Alex Merg scored ten points and dished out a game-high seven assists. Odegaard ended with the 17 points from the first half, and also led both teams with three steals.