UWSP surges toward postseason
Notes: Findlay wins 100th consecutive home game
Brian Lester, NCAA.com
Bob Semling figured it would take some time for his Wisconsin-Stevens Point basketball team to adjust to a new season.
The Pointers lost two talented stars from its 2010 NCAA Division III national championship team. Matt Moses graduated and Jared Jenkins, who was also a football standout, decided to focus on a potential future in the NFL.
“It took awhile for everyone to get comfortable in their new roles,” Semling said. “But we are playing very good basketball right now. I am excited about where we are at as a team.”
The Pointers (18-3) are surging toward the regular-season finish line. They have won their last six games and seem poised for another title run.
Depth has been instrumental in the success for Stevens Point, which has one player in double figures and five others averaging at least seven points per game.
Sophomore guard Jerrel Harris has led the charge, clicking for 14.5 points per outing. Junior forward Dan Tillema is at 9.9 points ppg.
“We have about 10 guys that can step in and play at a high level,” Semling said. “Harris has been shooting lights out and we have other players who have been very effective shooting the ball.”
The Pointers have been more than effective on defense as well. They are allowing only 56.2 points per outing and have come up with 205 steals. Opponents are shooting just 38.7 percent from the field against them.
“We have good stamina and do a good job of wearing down opponents,” Semling said. “Our defense is versatile because we can guard well on the inside and outside.”
What it all adds up to is the potential for the Pointers to hoist another championship trophy in March in the Salem Civic Center.
“I have challenged our guys to play their best at the end of the season,” Semling said. “We are in good physical good condition and we feel like we can compete for a title if we continue to get better as a team.”
Need To Know
• It was only appropriate that on a night when Findlay won its 100th consecutive regular-season game at Croy Gymnasium, the Oilers scored 100 points. UF, ranked fourth in the nation in NCAA Division II, knocked off Michigan Tech 100-60 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game Feb. 3. Junior reserve guard Justin Schomaeker, a fan favorite, drained a wide-open 3-pointer to cap the scoring for UF, the 2009 national champion.
• The Oilers stretched their streak to 101 on Saturday with an 86-65 win over Northern Michigan and have won their last 66 at home overall. They are 507-106 on their home floor since the building opened in 1969 and have not lost in the regular season at home since 2004.
• Lamont Jones rose to the occasion for Arizona in its heart-stopping 107-105 triple-overtime win against Cal Saturday night. Jones made the go-ahead layup in the final OT to secure the win for the No. 21 Wildcats. As if that wasn’t enough, he drilled the 3-pointer that sent the game into the third extra session and nailed the game-tying trey with 16 seconds remaining in regulation. Jones torched the defending conference champions for 27 points as Arizona (20-4, 9-2 PAC-10) won its fifth consecutive game and picked up its eighth win in its last nine games. Cal (13-10, 6-5) had its four-game win streak snapped despite a 33-point effort by Harper Camp.
• Wooster saw its run as No. 1 come to a halt over the weekend. The Fighting Scots were tripped up in overtime against No. 15 Wabash, falling 69-68 in overtime at Timken Gymnasium. The Fighting Scots had won their first 20 games but were unable to survive a balanced attack by the Little Giants, who were led by Aaron Zinnerman (17 points). Wabash has beaten the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country this season. The win overshadowed a milestone by Nathan Balch, who became the 36th player in Wooster history to score 1,000 career points.
• John Holland rang up his ninth double-double of the season for Boston University and became only the second player in school history to score 2,000 career points. Holland carved up Maine for 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as the Terriers snapped the Black Bears' seven-game win streak.
• Montclair State head coach Ted Fiore won his 200th game at the school last week when he guided the Red Hawks to a 50-47 win against rival William Patterson at the Panzer Athletic Center. Fiore, in his 13th season, is 200-121 at Montclair State since taking over the program in 1998.
• Goldey-Beacom star Azeez Ellegood reached the 1,000-point plateau on Saturday, scoring 23 points, including 15 from beyond the arc, as the Lightning knocked off Post 68-60. Ellegood made a free throw with 27 seconds remaining to achieve the milestone.
• Freshman point guard Kendall Marshall handed out 16 assists, the most by a North Carolina player in an ACC game, and guided the No. 23 Tar Heels to an 89-69 win against Florida State on Sunday afternoon in Chapel Hill. Marshall’s assist total is the most in any game for UNC since Raymond Felton dished out 18 in a game against George Mason in 2003.
• Grinnell usually scores 100 or more points per game, but on Saturday, it was well below the century mark in a 79-65 win against No. 12 St. Norbert. The Pioneers were 30 points under their season average and forced 28 turnovers in the stunning win at Darby Gymnasium.
• Ben Hansbrough can certainly make a case for being the Big East Player of the Year, and perhaps even national player of the year, after turning in another stellar performance for No. 9 Notre Dame. Hansbrough shook off a slow start and scored 25 points in a 76-69 win over Rutgers Sunday afternoon in South Bend.
• South Carolina-Aiken has had a lot of success against Division II nationally ranked opponents this season, and it continued last week in a 74-62 win against No. 3 Augusta State at the Convocation Center. The Pacers, who are not ranked in the top 25, are 3-1 against ranked teams this season, including a 2-0 record against teams ranked in the top five.