A 39 to 5 advantage in points off the bench led the University of Wisconsin-Platteville menís basketball team to a 69-62 win over UW-Superior on Saturday afternoon at Bo Ryan Court.
The Pioneers (10-8, 4-5 WIAC) got sparks from the bench in sophomore Chas Cross, seniors B.J. Litz and Matt Weik accounted for all 39 points. Cross and Weik scored in double figures with 18 and 13 points, respectively. Litz had eight points, two rebounds and two assists and Cross finished the day with seven rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Senior Brett Stangel was the lone starter in double figures with 14 points.
The Yellow Jackets (11-8, 5-4 WIAC) was led by Dustin Ritchie, who had a game-high 19 points. Ben Aalfs and Brendan Bauer added 15 and 10 points, respectively.
When Ritchie made a 3 pointer with 7:48 to play in the first half, sophomore Eric Gerber came back to connect on a 3 pointer to spark an 11-0 run for the Pioneers that included a 3 pointer by Cross and a 3-point play by freshman Jake Manning. UW-Platteville stretched its lead out to as much 15 in the first 20 minutes and went into halftime with a 39-28 lead for its second-biggest halftime lead of the season.
However, a resilient UW-Superior squad came out of the halftime break with a 17-4 run to tie the game at 45. After a pair of free throws by the Pioneers and a layup by Bronson Byrne tied it at 47, Litz hit his second 3 pointer of the game put the Pioneers ahead by three and for the rest of the contest. The Yellow Jackets managed to cut the deficit to two, 54-52, when Aalfs knocked down a 3 pointer at the 6:47 mark.
However, an inside-outside game with Stangel and Weik combined to score the next seven points to push the lead to nine, 61-52, for the Pioneers. Down the stretch, UW-Platteville made its last six free throws to seal the win.
Next, the Pioneers will host UW-Oshkosh on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at Bo Ryan Court.
Boxscore | Photos by Andy McNeill