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Falcons come close to upset

UW-River Falls senior Ben Gresmer (2) of Hudson drives past UW-Stevens Point;s Tyler Tillema in the first half of the Falcons' 54-50 loss to the top-ranked Pointers Feb. 15.

The UW-River Falls men’s basketball team held the No. 1 team in the nation to its lowest point total and lowest shooting percentage of the season last Saturday night at Karges Center.

And with just over four minutes remaining in the game, the last-place Falcons held a two-point lead over conference-leading UW-Stevens Point and appeared poised for an upset.

But the Pointers did what top-ranked teams do, holding the Falcons scoreless over the final 4 minutes, 15 seconds while scoring the game-final six points to clinch a share of the WIAC title with a 54-50 victory.

Stevens Point improved to 12-1 in the WIAC, 21-1 overall, while UWRF fell to 2-12 in conference play, 7-16 on the season. But the Falcons didn’t let the Pointers escape without a scare.

River Falls erased an eight-point Pointer lead midway through the second half on five straight points by Devin Buckley and a three-pointer by New Richmond native Joe Deppe to tie the score, 48-48, with 5:12 remaining.

The Falcons went ahead 50-48 on a layup by Grant Erickson with 4:15 remaining and the score remained that way until the Pointers’ Clayton Heuer hit two free throws with 2:55 left to tie the score.

The two teams traded missed shots and turnovers during the next two minutes before the Pointers were finally able to regain the lead on a layup by Heuer with 46 seconds left. UWRF worked the clock down to six seconds but a potential game-winning three-pointer by Jay Sewer was off the mark. The Pointers rebounded and hit two free throws with three seconds remaining to make the final 54-50.

Ollie White had 13 points and nine rebounds for UWRF while Buckley hit three three-pointers and finished with 13 points. Former Raider Ben Gresmer finished with two points and five boards.

The Falcons will wrap up the regular season with two games on the road this week, Wednesday, Feb. 19, at UW-Superior (4-10, 7-16) and Saturday, Feb. 22, at UW-Platteville (8-6, 13-10).

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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