Comets achieve new heights

Yang Xi The men’s basketball team failed to advance to the Elite Eight round when it lost to UW-Whitewater 81-63 in the Sweet 16 on March 14 at Stevens Point, Wis.

Men’s basketball team concludes season with program’s best winning record

The men’s basketball team fell short in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Championship, losing to No. 3 UW-Whitewater 81-63 at Stevens Point, Wis. on March 14.

The Comets had the most successful season in the program’s history, with a 27-4 (90.9 percent) overall record.

“Obviously, we are disappointed,” said head coach Terry Butterfield. “We knew that Whitewater was a good basketball team, and we are disappointed with the quality of the game we played.”

No. 16 UTD started the game strong, taking a quick lead of 8-2, and seemed to be in control of the game with four players on the scoreboard in the opening five minutes.

UW-Whitewater did not take long to stage a comeback and took the lead with 12:47 on the clock in the first half. UTD never regained the lead in the game.

The Comets began to struggle as they committed four turnovers in five minutes, and junior guard Matthew Medell was the only player to find the basket.

The Warhawks’ rock-solid man-to-man defense kept UTD from reaching the net, and their offense took less time to score than the Comets.

UTD ended the half trailing UW-Whitewater by 14 points, with the score 40-26.

Medell and senior forward Dmitriy Chernikov were the team’s leading scorers with 11 and 5 points, respectively.

UTD played a relatively better second half but ran into trouble toward the end of the game.

Senior forward Kyle Schleigh and junior guard Nolan Harvey found themselves in trouble early on in the second half, committing 3 personal fouls each.

Harvey found his groove scoring 10 points in the initial 8 minutes of the second half, helping the Comets cut the Warhawks’ lead to just eight points, with 54-46 on the scoreboard in Whitewater’s favor.

“We settled in offensively (in the second half),” Harvey said. “We started handling the ball better and they were giving up the baseline.”

With 7:34 remaining, UTD trailed Whitewater 60-65 and looked to level the score, but the Warhawks almost shut down the Comets over the next six minutes, allowing UTD to score just three points.

“I think that the thing that really hurt us the most was that we let the ball get inside,” Butterfield said. “They found a problem with our defense and exploited it, but that’s not the normal defense we are accustomed to playing.”

Whitewater demolished the Comets’ defense in the closing stages of the game when it penetrated UTD’s defense with relative ease.

The Comets ended the night with its second lowest score of the season, shooting 43.5 percent from the floor, 30 percent from the three-point range and 50 percent from the foul line.

Harvey led the team with 20 points, shooting 6-of-11 from field goals and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe.

Schleigh ended the night with just 7 points, shooting 1-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the foul line.

“I just couldn’t find the rhythm,” Schleigh said. “I had some foul trouble in the second half and just couldn’t get it to go.”

Medell scored only two points in the second half, scoring a total of 13, and was UTD’s second leading scorer.

The Comets’ 2013-14 season has come to an end and they will return to action next fall.

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