WHITEWATER, Wis. — Second-ranked UW-Whitewater turned a season-high 26 offensive rebounds into 31 points to remain unbeaten with a 79-65 win against UW-Eau Claire on Saturday.
The Warhawks improved to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Eau Claire scored the first basket of the game and held the lead until sophomore guard KJ Evans’ layup put Whitewater in front 11-10 at the 11:32 mark. Leading 18-17, UW-Whitewater went on a 10-0 run to reach a double-digit lead at 28-17 with 5:52 left in the half.
Eau Claire got the lead down to four at 31-27 before Eric Bryson’s layup with 1:18 sent the Warhawks into halftime with a 33-27 lead.
Whitewater’s bench provided 20 points in the first half, while Eau Claire’s reserves contributed two points. Whitewater totaled 18 second-chance points, largely as a result of 15 offensive rebounds, while the Blugolds had four offensive boards and two points. Eau Claire was more accurate in the half, shooting 50 percent from the field to Whitewater’s 36 percent, but the Warhawks’ work on the boards provided 13 more field goal attempts.
Evans led Whitewater with 10 points in the first half, and senior forward Nick Craggs had 10 for Eau Claire.
Eau Claire stayed close at the start of the second half, pulling within three, 36-33, with 18:24 on the clock. Whitewater’s lead increased to 54-41 at 11:22, but the Blugolds came back again, closing the gap to 60-55 at 7:36 on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Lewis Mau.
Whitewater climbed back to a double-digit lead, 67-57, on a Evans jumper at 4:17. Junior guard Cody Odegaard’s jumper at 1:21 gave Whitewater its largest lead of the game 71-60.
The Warhawks gathered 26 offensive rebounds, as many as Eau Claire totaled in the game.
For the fourth time this season Whitewater forced at least 20 turnovers by an opponent (23). Whitewater also took advantage of free-throw opportunities, hitting 29-of-38. Eau Claire went 6-of-8 from the free throw line.
Evans led all scorers with a season-high 21 points. Odegaard added 14, with junior guards Eric Bryson and Alex Merg contributing 11 apiece. Evans had a double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds and sophomore guard Quardell Young added four steals and four assists. Senior guard Jordan Peterson scored 17 for Eau Claire and Lewis Mau scored 15.
UW-Eau Claire fell to 4-5 overall and 0-3 in league play.