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UW-Whitewater men drop WIAC title game

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Tim Wester/Special to the Gazette
February 28, 2010
— It’s never easy beating the UW-Stevens Point men’s basketball team twice in one season.

But to do it three times in one season is nearly impossible.


UW-Whitewater (23-5) found that out the hard way after Stevens Point played an inspired game to post a 63-57 victory in the WIAC tournament championship game here Saturday night.


Stevens Point senior Matt Moses had 16 points and Louis Hurd added 12 to help Stevens Point (23-4) gain the automatic berth into the men’s Division III NCAA tournament after Whitewater had won the regular-season title.


“I thought we were so consistent for 40 minutes,” said Pointer coach Bob Semling, whose team has won two out of the last three WIAC tournaments. “I believe that the WIAC tournament has brought out the very best in this basketball team.


“This was our best 80 minutes of the season, and we did it when the stakes were the highest.”


Meanwhile, in dropping a disappointing loss, Whitewater will be eagerly awaiting its seeding in the NCAA tournament as an at-large entry.


“There’s no way we don’t get in the tournament,” Warhawk coach Pat Miller said. “We have the most wins against ranked teams, and I think the country, and the third-highest strength of schedule in the country.”


“The question may be whether or not we host (a regional playoff).”


Whitewater’s quest to play host was shot down by poor shooting and a hot second-half start from the Pointers.


Stevens Point surged out to a 41-30 lead behind a 17-9 spurt with 13 minutes left in the second half.


With the Warhawk offense in a daze, senior guard Dupree Fletcher took charge with 22 points, including a clutch three-pointer that cut the deficit to 60-57 with 59 seconds remaining.


Fletcher finished with a team-high 25 points.


On the ensuing possession, Stevens Point took 35 seconds off the clock before a Moses’ tip gave the visitors a 62-57 lead with 23 seconds to play.


Fletcher tried to answer on the ensuing possession, but his off-balanced lay-up was rejected by Jared Jenkins. That gave Point the ball and the eventual victory.


“We have to make this game a positive,” Miller said. “Hopefully this will be an awakening that we have to clean those things up and be more solid for 40 minutes to beat the top caliber teams in the country.”


Both teams exhibited top-caliber defense in the first half as neither team scored until Fletcher drained a baseline three with 14:21 left in the first half.


Both teams continued their offensive struggles the rest of the half until the Pointers grabbed the upper hand with an 8-2 run.


STEVENS POINT 63, WHITEWATER 57


Stevens Point (63)—Harris, 3-11 2-4 10; Giordana, 0-1 0-0 0; Tillema, 0-3 0-0 0; Moses, 8-16 0-0 16; Jenkins, 1-5, 1-3 4; Foreman, 1-4 3-4 5; Hurd, 5-11 2-2 12; Krull 2-5 2-2 6; Hoelzel, 5-6 0-2 10 Totals: 25-62 10-17 63.


Whitewater (57)—Dantzler, 2-5 0-0 5; Free, 2-4 0-0 5; Negri, 1-5 0-0 3; Mitchell, 2-4 0-0 4; Fletcher, 7-19 8-8 25; Edmunds, 2-6 3-3 7; Bendall, 2-7 2-3 6; Vines, 1-6 0-0 2. Totals: 19-56 13-14 57.


UW-Stevens Point 24 39—63


UW-Whitewater 21 36—57


Three-point goals—Steven Point 3-14 (Harris 2-5, Giordana 0-1, Tillema 0-1, Moses 0-2, Jenkins 1-2, Foreman 0-1, Hurd 0-1, Krull 0-1). Whitewaer 6-18 (Dantzler 1-2, Free 1-2, Negri 1-4, Fletcher 3-8, Bendall 0-1, Vines 0-1). Rebounds—Stevens Point 34 (Moses 7), Whitewater 41 (Edmunds 11). Assists—Stevens Point 8 (Foreman 3), Whitewater 10 (Negri 5). Total fouls—Stevens Point 13, Whitewater 15.



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