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Falcons top Finlandia, cruise to 3-2 record

December 12, 2022

The UW-River Falls men’s basketball team hosted Finlandia University in its Nov. 23 home opener at Don Page Arena. The 2-2 Falcons looked to get above .500 in front of their home crowd.

The Falcons took an early double-digit lead of 17-6, getting the ball to six different shooters. Center Rodrick Payne was the offense’s focal point scoring nine in the first twelve minutes of the half.

Looking to stretch their lead, the Falcons relied heavily on their top scorers. Will Van Scoy and Logan Jedwabny sunk back-toback three-pointers. Starting guard Mason Anderson capped off the streak with a short jumper. The Falcons racked up eleven unanswered points bringing the score to a dominant 33-16 with 6:22 left.

The Lions began to chip away at their deficit late in the first half. Capitalizing on a string of Falcon turnovers, they pulled within eleven of the Falcon lead. Lion guard Danny Zuchak sank a buzzer-beater three and silenced Don Page Arena, though the Falcons still led 38-27.

On offense, the Lions came out humming in the second half. They opened with an 8-0 run and cut the deficit to just three. In response, Rodrick Payne shot back into first-half form by sinking a jumper and two free throws on back-to-back possessions.

The Falcons strengthened their lead back to double-digits midway through the half. Dylan Parker was heavily involved in the passing game, grabbing five total assists, four of which came in the second half, and all went for three-pointers.

Multiple turnovers cost the Falcons their comfortable lead as the Lions went on a fierce 10-1 run. With 4:07 to go, the Falcons called for a timeout to hold their narrow 63- 60 lead.

In the final four minutes of regulation, Rodrick Payne descended from the heavens to assist the Falcons. Following a triumphant Dylan Parker three-pointer, Payne threw in three straight jumpers and finished with a signature big-man dunk. The Falcons completed an 11-0 run and the celebration began on the Falcon’s sideline.

The Falcons carried a 78-68 victory and fought to get to 3-2 on the year. Rodrick Payne finished with a season-high of thirty points, followed by Dylan Parker with twelve. Will Van Scoy finished with eight points and a decisive pass game leading to five assists.

Following this ten-point victory, the Falcons will hope to get guard Logan Jedwabny more involved on Wednesday, December 30, as the team will host the aggressive 4-2 Eau Claire Blugolds. As for Rodrick Payne, the plan will remain the same: get him the ball.

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