On Saturday, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Men’s basketball team survived a scare from Alma (Mich) college. The Warhawks came from behind to defeat Hope 101-97 in overtime.
Although Alma came into the game with a record of 0-6, Whitewater head coach, Pat Miller, knew Alma was better than what their record stated.
“They’ve played an amazing schedule, all ranked teams and one division two team so I knew they were very capable.”
Due to Alma’s hot shooting, the Warhawks went into halftime trailing by one. The Scots shot over 50% from the field and made ten three pointers in the first half. Senior guard Malik Clements had high praise for Alma’s offense.
“That was one of the best teams that I’ve ever played with as far as ball movement.”
Alma’s ball movement left Whitewater’s defense scrambling for answers. Coach Miller tried many different looks on defense to slow down Alma’s offense.
“We tried to steer them into the middle of the floor, tried to contain them that way and that was ineffective, and we even thought about playing zone. What we finally did was back up our man to man to the three point line tried to take away some of their penetration.”
Senior forward Melvin Brown Jr. knew the Warhawks had to get stops on defense to get the Warhawks back into the game.
“We just had to get stops; like stops is the key. Get good defensive possession without getting fouls.”
Frustration began to show for the Warhawks as Brown Jr. picked up a technical foul. Brown Jr. knew he had to relax and help contribute for the team.
“It’s hard to keep your composure, but you can’t let the defense see that it’s getting to you. You just gotta man up and move to the next play.”
Brown Jr. made two free throws with eight seconds left to force the game into overtime. In overtime, the Scots took the lead, but the Warhawks scored six straight points to pull away for the victory. Malik Clements was happy the Warhawks never gave up and continued fighting.
“We just have a never give up mentality, and when you have that we know basketball is a long game. All what we had to do was just one stop at a time.”
Melvin Brown Jr. finished the game with a team high 29 points and eight rebounds. Although the Scots shot well from outside, the Warhawks won the battle in the paint, scoring 52 to Alma’s 26 points.
Malik Clements finished the game with 20 points and six rebounds. Senior guard Andre Brown and senior forward Derek Rongstad both finished the game with 16 points and eight rebounds. Senior guard David Sachs finished the game with 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The victory brings Whitewater’s season record to 7-0. Whitewater travels to Ripon on Saturday where tip off begins at 7 p.m.