A possible premature end to the season, after a disappointing loss for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse men’s basketball team.
The second-seeded Eagles lost 61-51 to UW-Platteville in the WIAC semifinal Thursday at Mitchell Hall.
Now, the Eagles will have to wait until 11:30 a.m. Monday to see if they can get one of 21 at-large bid to Division III NCAA tournament.
UW-L (17-9), sitting just outside the Top 25 D3hoops rankings, had split with the Pioneers (17-10) during the regular season.
Thursday’s game was one of runs with 15 lead changes. None, however, after the 13:35 mark in the second half.
After retaking the lead at that point, UW-P got out to a seven-point lead before the Eagles fought back.
Brendon Manning pulled UW-L within 45-43 with 9:30 remaining before the Pioneers answered with a 7-0 run to put things away.
Down 28-27 at halftime, the Eagles shot just 10 of 30 from the field in the second half and 1 of 8 from beyond the arc.
On Jan. 5, UW-L beat the Pioneers 80-76 on the road. A month later, of Feb. 2, it was UW-P with a 68-55 victory at Mitchell Hall.
Before that loss, the Eagles were peaking. They just won eight of nine games— three against Top 20 teams. The only loss was to fifth-ranked UW-Oshkosh.
The loss to the Pioneers started a three-game skid. The Eagles may have saved their season, however, right after that, beating then third-ranked UW-O 66-61.
If the Eagles get an at-large bid, that win could be the difference maker.