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UWRF men’s basketball continues streak with fourth win against Hamline

December 9, 2015

The UWRF men’s basketball team extended their win streak to four games this past Saturday, taking down the Hamline Pipers 80-67 at Karges Center.

Senior Jon Christensen had a career night, dropping 40 points on the Pipers on an amazing 16-20 shooting from the field. The 6’6 forward added four threes on the night to finish with an 80 percent field goal percentage.

“Every shot I took felt good as it left my hands. My teammates did a great job of getting me open and finding me when I was in scoring position,” Christensen said.

The Falcons impressive offensive display continued throughout the game, with UWRF shooting over 50 percent on field goals for the game and 63 percent in the second half alone.

This hot shooting got the Falcons off to an early start, coming out of the gate on a 9-2 run. But Hamline responded with a 26-11 run of their own to go up 28-20 with a little under five minutes to go in the first half. But Jon Christensen couldn’t be stopped, adding nine points in the final four minutes to put the Falcons up 33-32 at halftime.

The defense stepped up big in the second half, helping to give the Falcons a lead four minutes into the half that they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the game. They held the Pipers to only 38 percent on field goals on Saturday night.

“Defensively we were able to focus in on what they were going to do. We had a week to prepare and create a solid game plan, and the guys executed it very well,” Head Coach Jeffrey Berkhof said.

The game was tied up at 55 midway through the half, but the Falcons responded with a run like they did all night. A three-pointer by Logan Halvorson that put the Falcons up  nine with only four minutes left proved to be too big of a lead for the Pipers to overcome.

“Our style of play and constant pushing of the ball wore Hamline down. Being bigger and a bit more physical allowed us to go on a big run in the second half,” Berkhof said.

Other than Christensen’s huge game, other Falcons also stepped up with big contributions that lead to the victory. Senior Jack Herum had a solid all-around game with eight points, seven rebounds, and six assists, with CJ Lewis also adding 10 points.

The Falcons 47-34 advantage in rebounds was especially important, with Christensen saying, “Our biggest strength was our inside presence and ability to out rebound Hamline and really control the glass.”

With the win the Falcons move to 4-2 on the season after beginning the season 0-2. Both Christensen and Berkhof see key changes that have contributed to the Falcons current win streak.

“The biggest part is the team’s overall intensity. We realize that a lot of these games really come down to a few key possessions and we have to play hard for the full 40 minutes,” Christensen said.

“Our ability to control tempo is something we’ve had to work on since the first two games. The guys have really bought into team defense and it’s come a long way since the beginning of the season,” Berkhof said.

The Falcons next play host to Carleton College and St. Thomas University this week at the Karges Center.