Warhawks Advance to WIAC Men's Basketball Championship Final - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Warhawks Advance to WIAC Men's Basketball Championship Final

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WHITEWATER – The No. 2 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater men's basketball team was dominant in its first postseason game Thursday night, defeating UW-Eau Claire 82-60 in a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal at Kachel Gymnasium.

The top-seeded Warhawks (23-3 overall) advance to Saturday's final, where they'll take on No. 5 seed UW-Oshkosh, which knocked off No. 2 seed and fourth-ranked UW-Stevens Point, at 3 p.m. in Kachel Gymnasium.

UW-Whitewater seized control Thursday against the Blugolds (11-16) with a 16-0 run during a five-minute span midway through the first half. The Warhawks turned a 14-11 deficit into a 27-14 lead and didn't look back.

Senior wing KJ Evans led UW-Whitewater with a season-high 29 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Senior guard Rahjan Muhammad added 12points, all in the first half.

The Warhawks forced 21 UW-Eau Claire turnovers while committing just seven of their own and held a 22-8 advantage in points off miscues. UW-Whitewater also tallied 12 fast-break points, including six of three dunks.

Evans tallied nine of the Warhawks' 16 points during the team's first-half run, starting the spurt with a pair of free throws and ending it with a jumper at the 6:21 mark.

After the Blugolds drew to within 10 with 3:02 on the clock, UW-Whitewater pushed the lead up to 15 on a jumper by Evans and a 3-pointer by Muhammad. The Warhawks led 37-22 by the end of the period.

UW-Whitewater slowly built its lead early in the second half before putting the game out of reach with a 12-2 run. Evans totaled eight points during the spurt, including a 3-pointer with 12:02 remaining that put the Warhawks up 59-31.

UW-Eau Claire never got closer than 22 points the rest of the way.

Saturday's game will be the Warhawks' third meeting of the season against the Titans. UW-Whitewater swept the regular season series, most recently posting a 69-47 victory on Feb. 18 in Whitewater.

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