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Scotty Tyler's basketball journey has taken him to Grafton, Idaho, Milwaukee and now Whitewater, but on one special December night, he took up residence in "the zone."

The zone, as all athletes know, is where everything is going right.

That's where Jordan Spieth is when he drains every long putt, where Clayton Kershaw is when every pitch is perfect, where Aaron Rodgers is when every pass settles nicely into his receiver's hands.

Tyler was there on Dec. 21 when he poured in 45 points to set the single-game scoring school record for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in a wild 109-96 victory over Ripon.

On the evening, Tyler netted 13 of 20 from the floor, including 8 of 11 from 3-point range, as well as 11 of 14 from the free-throw line. He also pulled down 11 rebounds and added five assists, one steal and one blocked shot.

Tyler, who topped the previous mark of 43 points set by three players, the last in 1996, raised his season average from 11.9 points to 15.6 that night.

Adrenaline rush

"It was one of those games that you play basketball for," the former Grafton High School standout said. "I had such an adrenaline rush. You just play; you don't think about the sets or the plays, you just do them. Everything works in your head. You don't think; things just happen. I wasn't missing much."

Whitewater coach Pat Miller said, "That was a remarkable game. I don't think I have ever seen two teams so proficient offensively on the same night. Ripon's Ty Sabin had 40 points and both teams shot over 50 percent.

"Scotty was knocking down the perimeter shot, but he was scoring in a number of different ways, both inside and outside."

Tyler said that before the game that night, he didn't feel anything special.

"I did things just like I do before every game," he said. "I guess I just had a chip on my shoulder that night. It was a wild game. Every time Ripon scored, we would just take the ball out, get down the floor and go."

Tyler said there was a special announcement to the crowd after the game that he had broken the school scoring mark, but he himself was not aware of that until that moment.

He followed that effort with 30 points in Whitewater's next game, a victory over Lawrence on Dec. 29, and that two-game burst helped vault him to second place on the team with 14.9 points per game going into this week.

He leads the squad in rebounds (6.6 per game), blocks (24) and steals (19) and is hitting a cool 45 percent from 3-point range.

Tyler has led the Warhawks in scoring three times and in rebounding nine times this season.

Skilled player

"He is a highly-skilled player who can do a lot of different things," Miller said. "He has the perimeter game and is tough inside as well. He handles the ball well, he can score inside and outside and off the dribble. He is difficult to guard because he can do so many things."

Tyler said he wants to do whatever he is called upon to do in a particular game.

"It could be help defense, protecting the rim, distracting defenders with screens, getting rebounds or putting points on the board," he said.

Tyler, a junior in terms of athletic eligibility, took a circuitous route to Whitewater.

He graduated from Grafton in 2013 after leading the Black Hawks on a surprise run to a WIAA sectional championship game, averaging a team-high 16 points.

Tyler originally signed with Division 1 Idaho State but left after one season.

"It was too far from home," he said, "and I was not a huge fan of the zone defense there. I didn't like what I had to do in that system."

He transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, sat out one year and played sparingly last season.

When UWM coach Rob Jeter and his staff were fired after that season, Tyler looked elsewhere. One of his assistant coaches, Chad Boudreau, took a job at Whitewater and asked Tyler to join him.

Happy now

Now, he is clearly comfortable.

"I am just so happy to be here at Whitewater," Tyler said. "We have such great team chemistry, and everyone gets along well, better than any team I have been on other than AAU. I like coach Miller; he runs things well. He puts in the time, watches film and does things to make us better.

"He runs an up-tempo system, but he knows how to use the talents of the players he has within that system."

He is majoring in human health performance and recreation, which could set him up to be a physical education teacher or personal trainer.

Whatever else Tyler does on the court at Whitewater in the rest of this season and next, he has already left his mark on the Warhawks.

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