UWSP men host Eau Claire Saturday in regular season home finale
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) men’s
basketball team bounced back from a pair of tough losses at home last week with
a win at UW-Stout Wednesday, Feb. 10.
The Pointers (12-10, 5-6) beat Stout (4-17, 0-11) 65-61
Wednesday and will host UW-Eau Claire (14-8, 7-4) on Senior Day at Bennett
Court at Quandt Fieldhouse at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, in their final home
game of the regular season, before they travel to take on UW-Platteville (10-12,
4-7) at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17.
“Eau Claire probably has the best offensive team in the
league,” said UWSP men’s basketball head coach Bob Semling. “If you let that
team move the ball and execute, they can have their way with you, and it can
get out of hand, as River Falls found out a week ago when they were down 20 at
After a three-game win streak brought UWSP to 4-4 in the
Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), the Pointers fell 72-51
at home to UW-Whitewater (14-8, 5-6) Feb. 3, and then hosted UW-River Falls (13-9,
7-4) for Alumni Day Saturday, Feb. 6.
Senior guard Stephen Pelkofer went 4-of-4 from the field and
three-of-three from three-point range to help UWSP take a 13-7 lead with 15:46
to go in the first half, while River Falls answered with a 7-0 run to go up
14-13 with 12:31 remaining in the half.
The Pointers countered with a 10-0 run to grab a 23-14 lead
with 10:24 left and led the rest of the half, as they went into halftime up
UWSP never trailed in the second half until River Falls
sophomore guard Devin Buckley hit a three-pointer to give his team a 51-50 lead
with 7:24 to go, and the game went back-and-forth down the wire.
River Falls senior forward Jack Herum scored on a layup with
34 seconds left to give his team a 69-67 lead, while Pelkofer knocked down a
jumper with 25 seconds to play to tie the game at 69-69 and eventually send it
to overtime after Herum missed a layup with four seconds left and UWSP freshman
guard Ethan Bublitz’s desperation heave at the buzzer was off the mark.
Junior point guard Grant Erickson scored seven consecutive
points for his team to give River Falls an 80-78 lead with 25 seconds remaining
in overtime, while UWSP junior guard/forward Aaron Retzlaff made the second of
two free throws with nine seconds left to make it 80-79 and River Falls senior
forward Jon Christensen made the second of two free throws to give River Falls
an 81-79 edge with eight seconds to play.
The Pointers had a chance to take the lead or tie it in the
closing seconds, but senior guard/forward Sean McGann missed a three-pointer
with three seconds left, Pelkofer grabbed the rebound and missed a jumper with
one second left, and sophomore guard Luke Zuiker’s put-back was released after
the buzzer and waived off, as UWSP fell 81-79 in overtime.
Pelkofer finished with 30 points, Bublitz had 21points and
eight rebounds and McGann added 17 points in the loss.
“It was a painful loss, that we did so many things well,”
said Semling. “We probably played our best offensive game with our guards, we
got 68 points from our three starting guards, and we didn’t get enough balance
in scoring between our bigs, and we didn’t get enough scoring off the bench.
“But with that all being said, if you score 79 at home, you
should win,” he said.
The Pointers were on the road Wednesday to play Stout, which
was looking for its first win in the WIAC this season.
Stout got out to a 22-13 lead with 7:12 left in the first half
and led the rest of the half, as it went into intermission with a 32-25 lead.
UWSP continued to trail 43-38 with 13:29 to go in the second
half, when it used three-pointers from Bublitz, Pelkofer and freshman forward
Brett Tauber to power a 9-2 run and take a 47-45 lead with 10:43 to go.
The game remained tight down the stretch, as the Pointers
led 58-54 with 1:52 to play when Pelkofer buried a three-pointer to make it
61-54, and UWSP held off Stout the rest of the way for a 65-61 win.
Pelkofer finished with 24 points, as he went 6-of-9 from
three-point range and scored 17 points in the second half, while Zuiker scored
15 off the bench, as the Pointers moved into a tie for fifth-place in the WIAC
UWSP will return for its final home game of the regular
season when it hosts Eau Claire on Senior Day at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Eau Claire lost 71-49 at Oshkosh (14-8, 7-4) Wednesday night
to fall into a three-way tie for second place with Oshkosh and River Falls, and
two games behind first-place UW-La Crosse (15-7, 9-2) in the WIAC race with
three games to play.
Eau Claire is led this season by 6-3 sophomore guard and
former Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) standout George Diekelman
(13.4 points. 4.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists per game), 6-3 junior guard Jack
Martinek (13.2 points, 4.4 rebounds), 6-1 senior guard Tyson Kalien (11.6
points), 6-9 junior forward Jared Schneidermann (9.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 41.8
percent on three-pointers) and 6-9 senior forward Jacob Kohner (7.7. points,
4.5 rebounds, 45.8 percent on three-pointers).
“They just have so many weapons,” said Semling, whose team
fell at Eau Claire. “George Diekelman is playing extremely well, and Kohner and
Schneidermann both are knocking in three’s every game and scoring inside.
“They have six of seven guys that can all score, and they
are a handful on offense,” he said.
The Pointers will play at Platteville next Wednesday in the
second-to-last game of the regular season, after they beat Platteville 60-57 at
home Jan. 13 on a three-pointer from Pelkofer with 0.6 seconds left.
Platteville is led this season by 6-4 senior guard/forward
Boston Johnson (13.3 points, 7 rebounds, 3.3 assists), 6-4 junior forward Cory
Vaassen (11.7 points, 6.3 rebounds), 6-4 sophomore guard Matt Oestreich (11.6
points) and 6-2 sophomore guard Trey Sigel (8.8 points, 41.4 percent on
Platteville lost 104-86 to Whitewater at home Wednesday
night to drop to seventh in the eight-team WIAC, and one game behind UWSP and
Whitewater, as only the top six finishers will advance to the Conference
Tournament, where an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament will
be on the line.
“They’re a dangerous team, especially at home,” said
Semling. “With the system they run and how comfortable they are playing at
home, they’re not going to beat themselves at home.
“They’re very good at taking care of the ball and executing
and running really good offense, and they’re very patient and they really know
their roles,” he said. “And traditionally it’s been very hard to score at
Platteville, because they don’t give you easy baskets, they force you to make
outside shots and they try to really protect the basket.”