The first round of the Division III tournament took place at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point men’s basketball team lost to Illinois Wesleyan University, 69-61. The loss sent the Pointers (20-8, 12-4) home and ended their season.
IWU maintained the lead the entire game and went into halftime ahead 31-22 at halftime, gaining as much as a 12-point lead during the first half. The Pointers were able to bring the deficit down to just two midway through the second half when they went on a 9-2 run, but the Titans would answer by jumping out to an 11-point lead five minutes later.
UWSP struggled with the IWU defense throughout the entire game, shooting just under 35 percent from the field. Point did shoot better than the Titans from three-point land, converting on over 33 percent of their attempts while IWU shot just over 21 percent.
Point also shot much better from the free throw line, making 21-of-27 free throws while the Titans made just 10 of 21. Senior center Jordan Brezinski led the Pointers with a game-high 21 points. Senior forward John Koschnitsky had a team-high 15 points for IWU.
The Pointers were able to pull down 41 boards on the night, seven more than Wesleyan. Point turned the ball over 19 times leading to 19 points for the Titans. IWU controlled the ball down low on offense, scoring 40 of their 69 points in the paint.
Wesleyan’s depth was another major factor as they had 28 points from their bench while Point had just 10. In an interview with the press, head coach Bob Semling commented on the efforts of his team.
“Our guys made no excuses,” Semling said. “We were resilient. We wanted to play ... we felt we could win a game in the NCAA tournament.”
The Titans went on to take down the top seeded host team of Hope College 108-101 in a double overtime thriller. Fellow Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference member UW-Whitewater advanced to the sweet sixteen after taking down the University of St. Thomas, 91-62.
The Pointer men’s basketball team will begin off-season duties and will look to replace seniors, including leading scorer forward Dan Tillema and center Jordan Brezinski.