For the first nine minutes Friday night, it looked like UW-L would have no problem beating UW-River Falls a third time.
Leading 21-6 and looking for an early knockout punch, the Eagles' shooting went cold nearly as quickly as it became hot Friday night in the WIAC semifinals. UW-L went 2-of-17 the rest of the half, and ultimately fell 72-61 at Mitchell Hall.
With the win, the Falcons advance to Sunday's WIAC championship game at UW-Oshkosh.
"I told the guys we have a lot to be proud of, we did a lot of things that nobody really thought we'd have a chance to do," Eagles head coach Ken Koelbl said afterward. "I just thought we got away from being us, that was probably the biggest thing."
Devin Yurk led the Eagles with 20 points and Austin Fritz added 13. Jon Christensen led River Falls with 21 points, all from behind the arch. His seven triples were the second-most ever in a WIAC tournament game.
After winning the conference title for the first time since 1965, UW-L opened up Friday's game with six points by Fritz. The Eagles later used another 11-1 run to lead 21-6 with 11:42 remaining in the half.
A 25-4 run to end the half gave River Falls a 31-25 lead at halftime. UW-L closed to within seven, but never threatened for the lead again.