Pointers use 15-0 second-half run to sprint past Pioneers, into WIAC title game
Press release from UW-Stevens Point***
STEVENS POINT, Wis. - The top-ranked UW-Stevens Point men's basketball team used a 15-0 run in the middle of the second half to pull away from UW-Platteville an advanced to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Tournament championship game with a 66-47 win in the semifinals on Friday night at Bennett Court at Quandt Fieldhouse.
UW-Stevens Point (25-1) led by double digits after scoring to open the second half but UW-Platteville (16-11) cut the deficit to two with 12:36 remaining. However, the Pointers held the Pioneers scoreless for the next 6:24 as part of a 15-0 run that saw UWSP take a 57-40 lead and the Pointers led by at least 14 the rest of the way.
The win sends UW-Stevens Point to the WIAC championship game on Sunday afternoon where the Pointers will face UW-Whitewater, who topped UW-La Crosse in the other semifinal on Friday night. The Pointers and Warhawks will tip-off at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Bennett Court..
Seniors Tyler Tillemma and Clayton Heuer keyed the 15-0 run, combining for 13 of the 15 UWSP points. Tillema and Heuer each scored 20 points in the contest, as Heuer tied his career-best scoring output. UW-Platteville missed five straight shots during the run.
Tillema scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half and also added a season-high eight assists, five rebounds, three blocks and three steals in the game. Heuer scored eight of UW-Stevens Point's first 10 points early on and finished 8-for-10 from the floor.
The Pointers shot over 57.0 percent from the field in both halves and 57.4 percent for the game. UWSP also held a 22-9 advantage in points off turnovers and 10-0 in fast break points. UW-Platteville shot 30.4 percent in the second half and 37.5 percent in the game. The Pioneers were 5-for-18 (27.8 percent) from three-point range.
UW-Stevens Point started the second half with a Heuer layup on the first possession to take a 38-28 lead but then scored just four points over the next eight minutes as the Pioneers chipped away at the UWSP lead. Jim Stocki and Eric Gerber combined for 12 points during a 12-4 UW-Platteville run that drew the visitors within two.
Heuer's eight early points saw the Pointers get off to a 12-5 start but UW-Platteville stayed close in the early stages. Trailing by six after a three-pointer by Joe Ritchay, the Pioneers took their first lead of the game at the midway point of the first half as part of a 9-0 run.
The Pointers took an eight-point lead into the break after scoring on their final three possessions of the opening 20 minutes, including a Tillema layup in the closing seconds. Tillema shot 3-for-8 in the first half but was 6-for-8 from the field in the second half.
Gerber led UW-Platteville with 17 points on 5-for-10 shooting. Chas Cross had 15 points and a game-high seven rebounds, while Stocki added 13 for the Pioneers.
UW-Stevens Point outscored UW-Platteville 38-26 in the paint and shot 7-for-15 (46.7 percent) from behind the arc. The Pointers also blocked a season-high eight shots in the game.
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