UW-Whitewater Wins NCAA III Championship - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UW-Whitewater Wins NCAA III Championship

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SALEM, VA -- This one will go down in Warhawk athletic, not just men's basketball, lore.  After Michael Mayer tipped in a rebound to give Williams College  a 73-72 lead with four seconds left, UW-Whitewater inbounded the ball to junior guard Quardell Young about 25 feet from the baseline, and Young slithered three quarters court for a driving layin that went in with 0.9 seconds left to give UW-W the NCAA Division III basketball championship in Salem, Virginia Saturday.  Young added a free throw for the final, 75-73.

The title is Whitewater's fourth, having previously won the NCAA III championship in 1984, 1989 and 2012.

UW-W's Eric Bryson struck first, hitting a three from the right angle for a 3-0 lead.  With the help of two layups by senior center Michael Mayer the Ephs built a 9-5 lead with 16:30 left.  KJ Evans' layin tied the game at 9-9, and the Warhawks regained the lead 12-9 on a three from straight out by junior guard Quardell Young at 14:22.  Holding a 13-12 advantage, UW-W went on a 9-0 run over a span of 2:22 to build the first double digit lead of the game, 22-12, punctuated by Eric Bryson's steal and dunk with 10:10 remaining.  Whitewater tacked on to the lead, eventually reaching fifteen at 35-20 on two free throws by senior center Reggie Hearn at 5:24.

Williams turned the tables and ripped off a 13-0 string, holding the Warhawks scoreless until 31 seconds left in the half and Hearn broke the spell with a layup to get Whitewater into halftime to regroup, holding on to a 37-33 lead.

The Warhawks shot 52% from the floor in the first twenty minutes, to 43% for the Ephs.  UW-W went 4-6 from three point range, Williams 3-11.  Whitewater led in rebounds 18-13, but Williams had just three turnovers to six for UW-W.  Evans topped Whitewater scorers with 9 points, also leading both teams with six rebounds.  Mayer was the top scorer in the half, with 11.

Neither team gave an inch in the second half, with ten lead changes.

Whitewater led early, briefly enjoying a seven point margin at 49-42 on a three by senior guard Alex Merg's three pointer from the top of the key at 14:55.  Seven straight for the Ephs knotted the score at 49-49, but Evans' old fashioned three point play put UW-W back in front 52-49 at 11:54.  Junior forward Daniel Wohl put Williams back in front 54-52 with a three point play at 10:57.  The lead see-sawed over the next ten minutes.

With UW-W trailing 71-69, Bryson knocked down a three from a left angle to make it 72-71 with 0:54 on the clock.  Williams' next possession was thwarted by a Steve Egan steal.  Williams fouled Alex Merg on the inbounds to stop the clock, but Merg didn't convert at the line and Williams rebounded, then called timeout with 18.7 seconds left.  Mayer's tipin followed on Williams' final possession, and Young followed with his dramatic dash down the court.

Whitewater had the edge on threes, hitting 8-15 (53%) to 4-15 (27%) for Williams.  The Ephs countered by making 19-23 free throws, while Whitewater was hitting 9-12.  In a pressure packed game on a strange court the teams had just 19 turnovers, Whitewater ten of those.

Evans led UW-W with 22 points and seven rebounds.  Bryson and Young tallied 13 apiece, and senior center Reggie Hearn was in double figures with ten.  Bryson also dished out a game high six assists, with Young adding five.  Mayer led all scorers with 26 points, hitting 9-13 from the floor.  He was also the top rebounder with nine.  Freshman forward Duncan Robinson scored 17, and junior guard Daniel Wohl was in double figures with 13.

Williams, the 2003 NCAA III champion, ends the season 27-5.

UW-Whitewater became the first Division III school to win national championships in basketball (women's or men's) and football in the same year with the Stagg Bowl trophy in December 2011 and the men's basketball title in March 2012. That feat has only been duplicated by the University of Florida in 2006 and by the University of Tennessee, with football and women's basketball in 1998. Now UW-W stands alone as the only NCAA school to win both football and basketball in the same year -- twice.

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