Pointers race out to early lead, blow past UWO to reach WIAC title game

By  | 

OSHKOSH, Wis. -- The UW-Stevens Point men's basketball team (18-8) scored the first 10 points and pushed the lead to 20 late in a 76-56 win at No. 4 UW-Oshkosh (23-3) in the WIAC Championship (presented by Culver's) semifinals on Thursday. UWSP, which reaches its second-straight title game, will face UW-Platteville on Saturday.

Senior Canon O'Heron (Bangor, Wis./Bangor) led all players with 20 points, 14 in the second half, as the Pointers shot 52.6 percent from the field in the game.

Junior Blake Ehrke (Deerfield, Wis./Deerfield) recorded his second-straight double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Ethan Bublitz (Jackson, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran) and Brandon Spray (Prairie Du Sac, Wis./Sauk Prairie) were also both in double digits with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Brett Tauber (Madison, Wis./Memorial) hit a three-pointer to open the game and Nate Dodge (East Troy, Wis./East Troy) scored the next five, including a triple. O'Heron pushed the lead to 10-0 as UWSP held the Titans without a point for nearly five and a half minutes to begin the game. Drew Fredrickson (Mount Horeb, Wis./Mount Horeb) and O'Heron scored on consecutive possessions as the lead grew to 14-2.

Ehrke scored four points and following three points by Spray, UWSP led 23-11. Bublitz completed an and-one to snap a 7-0 Titans run with 4:36 remaining in the half. O'Heron scored a minute later and the Pointers held UWO to just four points over the final 3:35 to take a 28-22 advantage at the break.

Tauber got on the board first for the Pointers in the second half. Bublitz drained a three following a Fredrickson basket and the lead quickly grew to 12. O'Heron scored the next four points as UWSP maintained a double-digit lead. Spray nailed a three with 10:44 to go as the lead reached 16.

Spray buried another three to push the advantage to 17 and four-straight by O'Heron made it an 18-point lead. O'Heron completed an and-one with 2:35 remaining as the lead ballooned to 21. UWSP kept the offensive pressure on and closed out the win in strong fashion.

UWSP's defense held the Titans to just 35.7 percent shooting from the field and UWO was just 3-for-26 (.115) from behind the arc. The 56 points by the Titans was a season low and the Pointers' win snapped a 16-game home winning streak by UWO.

The Pointers head to Platteville on Saturday (Feb. 23) to face the Pioneers for the WIAC Tournament title and an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Tip-off at Williams Fieldhouse is set for 5:00 p.m.