SAN ANTONIO – Whitworth University controlled the first half but Wisconsin-Whitewater dominated the second as the Warhawks defeated the Pirates 76-61 at the Trinity University National Invitational tournament on Wednesday evening.
UWW, ranked 16th, improved to 10-1 while 8th-ranked Whitworth fell to 7-2 in the only match-up of top-25 teams at the event.
The Pirates shot 56% (10-18) in the opening half and held the Warhawks to only 25% (7-28) on the way to a 33-24 lead at the break. If not for 11 first half turnovers that lead might have been much larger. After taking a quick 5-0 lead Whitworth never trailed in the first period. The Bucs led 26-24 with 2:28 to play then took a 7-0 run into the locker room, including five from Idris Lasisi.
Then everything changed.
After struggling to make a basket in the first half the Warhawks made their first three shots of the second period and tied the game 33-33 only 1:24 into the second half. Cody Odegaard hit back to back threes to open the period for UWW.
Whitworth seemed to regroup and went back up 41-36 on a basket inside by Lasisi. But the Warhawks answered with an 14-3 run to take a 50-44 lead on a three by Alex Merg with 10 minutes left. UWW continued to stretch the lead to 67-53 on another Merg three-pointer with 4:12 left, essentially securing the game.
Whitewater shot 71% (17-24) after halftime to finish the game at 46%. Whitworth went the other way, dropping to 30% (7-23) in the second half and finishing 42% overall. The Pirates were 4-15 (27%) from three-point range in the second half, while the Warhawks were 6-10 from beyond the arc. UWW outscored the Bucs 52-28 after the break.
Chris Davis led Whitewater with 22 points and eight boards. Merg and Odegaard each scored 14 points and dished four assists.
Whitewater is done at the tournament having won both of its games. Whitworth will continue with a game against Southwestern University (Texas) on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. (CST) / Noon (PST).