A combination of experience and youth led the University of Wisconsin-Platteville menís basketball team to a 60-58 win on Senior Day at Bo Ryan Court in Platteville, Wisconsin.
The Pioneers (14-11, 8-8 WIAC) were led by senior Brett Stangel, who had a game-high 23 points and freshman Jake Manning, who added 15 off the bench. The duo accounted for 25 of 34 points for UW-Platteville in the final 20 minutes.
The Blugolds (14-10, 6-9 WIAC) had three in double figures including Jordan Petersen with 11 points. Nick Bartlett and James Pfitzinger each added 10 for UW-Eau Claire.
UW-Eau Claire tied the game at 57 when they knocked down their eighth 3 pointer of the game with 2:45 to go. Manning made 1 of 2 free throws for the second-straight possession to put the Pioneers ahead one, 58-57. After forcing a Blugolds turnover, the Pioneers set up a play for the senior from Monroe. Stangel answered the call and the challenge when he banked in a jumper with 1:24 to go.
With a 50-47 with less than a minute to go, UW-Eau Claire cut into the deficit when Petersen made one of two free throws with 55 seconds to go.
Trailing 50-48, the Blugolds had two chances at the game-winning shots down the stretch to go ahead on a pair of 3 pointers with 51 seconds and 4 seconds left, respectively. Both shots came up short and the Pioneers prevailed with the win.
The Pioneer senior corps of Bondar, Litz, Stangel, Weik accounted for the first nine points and 19 of the 26 first half points. UW-Platteville closed out the opening stanza with an 8-2 run to take a 26-23 lead. UW-Eau Claire scored 12 of the first 17 points of the second half to take a 35-30 lead with 16:19 to play.
The Blugolds stretched the margin to as much as six with 13:16 to play. However, the Pioneers came back to tie it at 40 on back-to-back 3 pointers by Stangel and Litz. Not until five more ties later was the game decided.
The win sends the Pioneers into the WIAC Tournament with an opponent and location still to be determined.