UWSP men’s basketball too much for Edgewood
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
The 12th-ranked University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) men’s basketball team remained unbeaten on the season with a win over Edgewood (0-3) at Bennett Court at Quandt Fieldhouse Saturday, Nov. 24.
The Pointers jumped out to a 10-0 lead to start the game and led by as much as 19 in the first half, as they went on to a 73-54 win to improve to 3-0 on the season.
“They’re definitely a tough team,” said UWSP senior forward/center Brett Tauber. “When we got off to a good start, we knew that they weren’t just going to lay down and give in.
“They’ve always fought back against us,” he said. “They played us tough last year, and a couple of years ago, as well.”
“(A 3-0 start), that’s the expectation, but you’ve got to do it,” said UWSP men’s basketball head coach Bob Semling. “We had a tough opener on the road and we were able to get by that, and then we’ve been able to do what we needed to do at home.”
Following a 54-41 win at 23rd-ranked St. Olaf Nov. 13 and an 87-72 win over Buena Vista in the home opener Nov. 17 , UWSP hosted Edgewood in a nonconference matchup Saturday night, after the Pointers won 71-64 at Edgewood last season.
UWSP got four points from Tauber and three points apiece from senior forward Canon O’Heron and junior guard Ethan Bublitz to get out to a 10-0 lead 3:03 into the game, while Edgewood came back to pull within 14-10 with 10:58 to go in the first half.
Junior forward/center Matt Koerner answered with a three-pointer to extend the Pointers’ lead to 17-10, while the UWSP defense limited Edgewood to one field goal over the next 11 possessions, and built a 28-13 lead with 4:39 to play in the first half.
The Pointers increased their lead to 39-20 with 48 seconds left in the first half, and went into halftime up 39-25.
“We got off to a good start on offense and I thought we sustained it through longer periods in the first half, but then we just had that really awkward end to the first half,” said Semling. “Ethan got a foul trying to get an offensive rebound and he had to sit, and then we had three turnovers and two more fouls at the end, and they didn’t cut into the lead as much as they could have.”
UWSP outscored Edgewood 9-3 to start the second half and go up 48-28 with 16:02 left on a jumper from Bublitz, while Edgewood used a 7-0 spurt later in the half to close within 51-38 with 11:31 to play.
That was as close as Edgewood would get, as O’Heron scored six points in a 16-6 run that pushed the Pointers’ lead to 23 at 67-44 with 4:17 remaining, on the way to a 73-54 win.
UWSP scored 42 points in the paint and shot 46.7 percent from the field (28-of-60) and 33.3 percent from three-point range (6-of-18) in the win, while Edgewood shot 45.5 percent from the field (20-of-44) and 15.4 percent on three-pointers (2-of-13), to go along with 17 turnovers.
“We got another good start in the second half, and our goal was to try to not repeat what happened against (Buena Vista) and let them back in the game,” said Semling “We had a run and we built it to 20, and then we kind of let them back, but then we climbed it back up again.
“So the games were very similar that way, but the difference this game is that we were able to get all of our guys into the game,” he said. “We wanted to do that at home, so I’m thankful for that, that we were able all 16 guys in.”
O’Heron finished with 15 points and four rebounds, senior guard Drew Fredrickson had 12 points, Bublitz scored 10 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists in 16 minutes, and sophomore guard Garrett Nelson added seven points and three assists off the bench.
Meanwhile, Madison native Tauber totaled 10 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth career double-double for UWSP.
“We had some big plays from B.T.,” said O’Heron. “He grabbed a lot of (offensive) boards and really got us going with some big momentum plays.
“That kind of fired everybody up, and we were good to go from there,” he said.
“He’s been a good rebounder on both ends, and the scoring is a bonus with Brett,” said Semling. “He never was expected to score in high school (at Madison Memorial), so we knew that, but we recruited him because he’s a smart kid, he’s a great teammate, he’s a very good defender, and he’s really good in practice, just always challenging his teammates to be better.
“So I’m really excited for him to get a double-double,” he said.
The Pointers will face a challenge on the road when they to travel to Rock Island, Ill., Wednesday, Nov. 28, to play third-ranked Augustana (3-1) in its home opener.
Augustana fell at Loras (Iowa) 74-73 Nov. 21 when Loras knocked down a pair of free throws with 0.1 seconds left, before it bounced back with a 78-64 win at Rockford Nov. 24.
“The most important thing is not being 3-0, but ‘are we getting better?” said Semling. “’From Week 5 to Week 6 to Week 7, are we becoming a better basketball team?’
“I want to push our guys harder, to a higher standard, much quicker than last year,” he said. “Obviously, we competed for a Regular Season Championship, we won the WIAC Tournament, and we were a Sweet 16 team.
“We have eight seniors, and we need to try to get to a higher level much quicker this year,” he said.