UWSP men escape Platteville; Pointers dig out of early hole with Eau Claire
For the Gazette
PLATTEVILLE/STEVENS POINT – The host Pioneers missed a three-pointer at the buzzer as the UW-Stevens Point men’s basketball team knocked off No. 7 UW-Platteville by a 66-64 final on Jan. 15.
Senior Blake Ehrke (Deerfield) led the Pointers with 21 points, including six vital points for a late lead. Garrett Nelson (Beaver Dam) added a career-high 18 points.
Ethan Bublitz (Jackson) was also in double figures with 11 points, including the game-winning three-pointers with 53 seconds left. He tied with Brandon Spray (Prairie Du Sac) for a team-high seven rebounds.
Nelson rattled off six-straight points as UWSP tied the game at 8-8 early. Spray completed an and-one and Aaron Knez (Chippewa Falls) drilled a three to put UWSP in front 14-8. Ehrke scored 11-consecutive points for UWSP as the Pointers held a narrow lead at 30-28. Nelson buried a three, but UWSP was held without a pint the final 3:23 off the half and trailed 34-33 at the break.
Midway through the second half, Zach Mootz (Merrill) hit a three and Nelson scored seven in a row for a nine-point lead at 55-46. Ehrke hit from behind the arc to halt a 9-0 run by the Pioneers beginning a stretch of six-straight for Ehrke. With 53 seconds remaining, a Bublitz triple put the Pointers ahead 66-61. After the Pioneers scored three points to cut the lead to two, an offensive rebound gave UWP the final possession of regulation. A three-pointer for the win at the buzzer was no good as the Pointers prevailed.
The Pointers (11-5, 3-2) then dug out of a 17-point first-half hole only to see a one-point lead dissipate with just 11 seconds left in a 63-62 loss to UW-Eau Claire (11-5, 2-3) on Jan/ 18 in Quandt Fieldhouse.
Bublitz led all scorers with 25 points and Ehrke had a game-high eight rebounds. Ehrke added 13 points, the only other UWSP player in double figures.
By the time Bublitz made UWSP’s first field goal 5:21 into the game, the Pointers trailed by a 17-1 score. Bublitz scored the Pointers’ first eight points and had 12 at halftime, but UWSP was behind 35-24 at the break.
The Pointers continued to chip away at the deficit with a 6-0 run early in the second half. Seven-straight point by Bublitz got UWSP within four with 13:15 remaining. Bublitz then knocked down four-straight free throws to tie the game at 45-45 midway through the second half.
Ehrke nailed a three with 9:01 left to knot the game 49-all. Matt Koerner (West Bend) got in on the three-point barrage for a 56-56 tie with 5:06 left. Garrett Nelson (Beaver Dam) completed an and-one with 3:46 remaining as UWSP gained its largest lead at 60-58. An Ehrke layup with 2:08 left gave UWSP a 62-61 lead, but a put back off a missed layup with 11 seconds left let the Blugolds escape with the win.