UW-River Falls Earns Semifinal Win at UW-La Crosse

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La Crosse, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse men's basketball team fell 72-61 to UW-River Falls Friday night in a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship Semifinal (presented by Culver's) in Mitchell Hall.  The Eagles wrap up their season at 16-10 overall while the Falcons improve to 17-10 and will play at UW-Oshkosh in the tournament championship game Sunday. 

UWL raced out to a 10-3 lead with Austin Fritz scoring six points.  UW-River Falls cut the lead to 10-5 on a Grant Erickson jumper with 16:47 left when UWL used a 11-1 run to lead 21-6 with 11:42 remaining.  UW-River Falls missed five straight shots from the field and had four turnovers in UWL's run. 

The Falcons responded with a 25-4 run to end the half and lead 31-25.  Trailing 21-8, Jon Christensen hit three of his next four three-point attempts to cut the lead to 21-17 with 9:03 left.  After UWL's Devin Yurk converted a layup to make it 23-17, UW-River Falls scored the next seven points to take its first lead of the game at 24-23 with 7:19 remaining on Christensen's fourth three-pointer of the half.  A Ben Meinholz jumper gave the Eagles a one-point advantage, but the Falcons scored the final seven points to lead 31-25 as Christensen made his fifth three-point field goal with 4:24 remaining.  Both teams went scoreless the last 4:24 of the half as UWL missed its last 10 shots from the field and went two-of-17 overall to finish the half.  UW-River Falls missed its last six shots from the field. 

Jack Herum's three-pointer with 17:22 left in the game gave UW-River Falls a 39-29 lead, but UWL went on a 9-4 run to cut the deficit to 43-38 with 15:08 remaining.  The Falcons used a 15-2 run to lead 58-40 with 11:22 remaining.  The Eagles cut the lead to 61-54 with 4:10 left on a Brendon Manning layup, but could get no closer the rest of the game.

UWL shot 40.3% from the field Friday, including 13.6% (three-of-22) from three-point range, and 53.3% (eight-of-15) at the free throw line.  The Eagles were one-of-nine (11.1%) from three-point range in the first half and two-of-13 (15.4%) in the second half. 

Yurk led UWL with 20 points while Fritz finished with 13.  Meinholz added nine points, eight assists and six rebounds. 

UW-River Falls shot 44.6% from the field, including 48.0% (12-of-25) from three-point range, and 76.9% (10-of-13) at the line.  The Falcons shot 51.9% (14-of-27) from the field in the second half, including 54.5% (six-of-11) from three-point range.  The 12 three-point field goals made overall is tied for fifth in single-game WIAC Tournament history.  UW-Stevens Point made a tournament record 15 three-point field goals versus UW-River Falls in 2011. 

Christensen led UW-River Falls with 21 points and eight rebounds, going seven-of-12 from three-point range.  The seven three-point field goals made is tied for second in single-game WIAC Tournament history with Nick Scherer from UW-Oshkosh versus UW-Platteville in 2001.  UW-Stevens Point's Pete Rortvedt set a tournament record with nine three-point field goals against UW-Platteville in 2006.  Christensen's 12 three-point attempts is tied for fifth-most in single-game school history. 

Garret Pearson finished with 11 points for UW-River Falls Friday night while Erickson totaled 10 points and seven assists.