It may be early in the season, but the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point men’s basketball team has put on a strong showing.
The Pointers, ranked 7th in Division III, hold an undefeated 6-0 record and have an average margin of victory of more than 12 points per game.
Wednesday, senior guard Tyler Tillema dropped 20 points as the Pointers won on the road against UW-Oshkosh, 74-53. UWSP shot 63 percent from the field in the first half.
The best part of the Pointers early season success is, according to Assistant Coach Kent Dernbach, the team still hasn’t shown what they are fully capable of.
“We certainly haven’t played close to our best basketball yet,” Dernbach said. “We are not there yet. Going forward, our guys know how much better we have to be on both ends of the court and continue to work to play 40 minutes rather than playing short stretches of good basketball.”
Considering the perfect record so far, the team has to have done some things right. Dernbach pointed to three specifics that the team has executed well.
According to Dernbach, one of the strengths of this team is the poise they have shown in tough situations. “That is probably the most important characteristic about this team, the poise they’ve shown this season,” Dernbach said.
Dernbach also cites that, although the defense has not played up to the coaches expectations, they have made big stops when they had to.
The Pointers have also had a strong start on the offensive side of the ball. “We’ve shot the ball well from the field and also from the free throw line,” Dernbach said.
Stevens Point has the second highest scoring output in the conference, with an average of 79 points per game.
UWSP is also tied for first with an 82.2 free throw percentage and third in the conference with 49.1 percent shooting from the field.
A big part of the Pointers offensive success can be attributed to senior guard, Tyler Tillema. With an average of 20.6 points per game, Tillema leads the team in scoring. Tillema also leads the team in assists, steals and blocked shots. He is second in rebounds, with an average of five per game.
But the biggest surprise has to be 6’ 8” center, Clayton Heuer, a transfer student from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Coming into the season, Dernbach and the Pointers coaching staff didn’t know what to expect from the big man, but Heuer has stepped up in his expended role with the Pointers.
Heuer is currently second on the team in scoring, with 15.8 points per game and leads the team with 5.4 boards per game.
Dernbach says that the team can still improve its defensive play to be more consistent, and the team also hopes to continue to have multiple players score points, but if everything clicks, teams better watch out for the Pointers.
Stevens Point’s next home game comes Saturday against conference rival, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Tipoff is at 7 p.m., so get down to the Quandt Fieldhouse and support your Pointers men’s basketball team.