Ben Aalfs is now officially known as "Big Shot Ben."
That's the nickname University of Wisconsin-Superior basketball coach Matt Siverling gave Aalfs after his 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining helped the Yellowjackets defeat UW-Whitewater 60-58 Saturday afternoon at Mertz Mortorelli Gym.
"What a ball game, what a ball game," Siverling said. "We set something up, I don't know if it worked the way we wanted it to, but Ben did an unbelievable job of getting open and knocking down a three.
"We might have to start calling him "Big Shot Ben," because he's been getting enough of them for us."
Aalfs, Superior's leading scorer, also nailed a game-winning 3-pointer at buzzer in an 85-82 win over UW-River Falls on Jan. 18.
Aalfs' 3-pointer Saturday actually only gave UWS a 59-58 lead with :00.3 on the clock. After the referees changed the clock to :01.1 the Warhawks tried to draw a foul on an inbounds play. There was a collision between Superior's Bronson Byrne and a UWW player, but no foul was called which led to a UWW time out.
On its second inbounds chance, Whitewater threw the ball out of bounds near midcourt, which led to the UWS faithful storming the court in celebration.
After another adjustment put :00.4 back on the clock, Whitewater fouled Walter Charlton, who made the first of two free throws for a 60-58 score.
UWW's Chris Davis got the rebound on the miss and his full court attempt came up short, which led to the UWS fans swarming the court once again.
"This is the biggest win we've had in the four years I've been here," Aalfs said. "They're a great team, ranked fourth in the country, but we just hung in there, kept it close and gave us ourselves a chance to win. That's all you can ask for."
The Yellowjackets led by one point twice in the first half but fell behind 55-49 with 5:33 to play.
Aalfs hit two free throws, Byrne made a three-point play and Adam Hjelter made a layup to get UWS within 57-56 with 1:20 remaining.
Davis made one of two free throws to give Whitewater a 58-56 lead with 13.2 seconds remaining. After a timeout, Aalfs hit the game-winning shot.
"I came off a triple screen, looking for a shot, trying to make something happen," Aalfs said. "Coach said look for the pull up if it's going to be open, I pulled it up from three, and it went in.
"They're one of the better defensive teams in the conference. They really get after it. They're big and strong and very physical, but we weathered the storm, got through it and got the win."
UWS improves to 14-10 overall and 8-7 in the WIAC. It also gives the 'Jackets a solid hold on fourth place, and a possible home playoff game.
"I just told our guys we need to take care of our own destiny," Siverling said. "If we took care of our own business, everything else will fall into place."
Aalfs scored a team-high 18 points and was 3-for-6 from long range to pace the attack for UWS. Byrne added 11 points as the Yellowjackets connected on 7-of-15 from 3-point range and also 9-of-10 free throws for the game.
Davis had 19 points to lead the Warhawks (20-3, 11-3), who lost an opportunity to tie UW-Stevens Point and UW-River Falls for the league lead. Luke Knoble added 16 points while Eric Bryson added 11 for the Warhawks.
'JACKET JOTTINGS: Saturday was Alumni Day at UWS. ... The Yellowjackets close out the regular season at 5 p.m. Saturday when they host UW-La Crosse. ... Seniors playing their final home games (excluding a possible playoff game) will be Aalfs and former Superior Spartan Dustin Ritchie.
Courtney Kumerow led four players in double figures with 17 points as UW-Whitewater topped the UWS women 69-50 in a WIAC game Saturday at Mertz Mortorelli Gym in Superior.
The Warhawks (18-5, 10-4) led 33-22 at halftime and never led by fewer than nine points in the second half.
Bri Davis scored 16 points and Hailey Hart added 13 for the Yellowjackets (10-13, 4-11), who committed 28 turnovers and attempted 23 fewer field goals than Whitewater
UWS hosts Crown at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
UWS jumped to a three-goal lead and, despite allowing two late goals, hung on to defeat UW-Eau Claire 4-3 in a Northern Collegiate Hockey Association game Saturday afternoon at Wessman Arena.
Haley Olmstead, Alison Shrift, Dani Schultz and Kiara DeKezel scored for the Yellowjackets (14-6-3 overall, 12-4-2 NCHA), who remained in second place behind conference champion Wisconsin-River Falls. Schultz has 19 goals this season.
Amy Torgerson made 31 saves, including 13 in the third period when the Blugolds (7-12-4, 6-9-3) made a game of it by scoring twice in the final two minutes.
Toni Simones scored a short-handed goal at 6:27 of the third period to lift UWEC over UWS 3-2 Friday night at Wessman Arena.
Simones tallied her first goal at 10:37 of the first period, but UWS rallied and gained a 2-1 lead after receiving goals from DeKezel and Kaiti Graham early in the second period. Dani Kerr tied it at 2-all later in the second, setting up Simones' heroics.
Shanley Peters stopped 22 shots for the Yellowjackets, while Morgan Pieper made 21 saves for the Blugolds.
Adam Cardwell scored 2:37 into overtime to give host UW-River Falls a 5-4 win over UWS on Saturday night at Hunt Arena, closing out the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association regular season.
Jeff Forsythe scored twice for the Yellowjackets (9-9-6, 4-7-6), which led 3-1 before allowing four of the final five goals.
Winning goaltender Scott Lewan stopped 22 shots for the Falcons (16-7-2, 10-6-2).
Saturday was the fourth straight overtime game for the Yellowjackets. They finished tied in the previous three games, including 3-3 Friday night at UW-Eau Claire.
Justin Faryna scored 3:27 into the third period and Drew Strandberg made 28 saves Saturday at UWS earned a 3-3 tie against UWEC Friday night.
Joey Massingham and Kyle Leahy also scored for the Yellowjackets.
Brandon Stephenson stopped 35 shots for the Blugolds.