The University of Wisconsin-Platteville menís basketball team outscored Luther by a 9 to 2 margin in overtime en route to a 64-57 season opening win over Luther College on Tuesday night at Bo Ryan Court.
The Pioneers (1-0) bounced back from shooting 34.8% in the first half to shoot 50% in the second half and made two of three shots from the field in the overtime for the win. Also, the Pioneers made 15 of 17 free throws during the same stretch.
Senior Brett Stangel scored a game-high 23 points and junior Rob Stallion added 11 to lead UW-Platteville. Hidden in the stat sheet but constantly around the ball was sophomore Eric Gerber, who had eight points, three steals and a career-high nine rebounds for the Stoughton native.
Luther (0-1) had three in double figures including 12 from Tyler Wedemier and 10 from John Androus and Zac Matos-Pritchard.
The visiting Norse took an early 16-6 lead in the first 9:34 of the game. Luther remained in front for the rest of the half and went into the intermission with a 28-21 lead. To build the lead, they had outscored the Pioneers by an 11 to 5 margin on points off turnovers and a 14 to 8 lead in points in the paint.
In the second half, the Pioneers gradually worked away at the Luther lead. Sparked by a 9-0 run that ended with a layup by Stallion put UW-Platteville in front, 37-35, with 11:01 to go in regulation. The lead and momentum went back and forth as the game would be tied eight more times and neither team was able to build a lead more than two points.
The two teams went into overtime tied at 55 and started the extra period both missing their first two shots from the field. The Pioneers scored the first five points of overtime to take a 60-55 lead with 2:32 to go in the extra stanza.
Luther was kept off the scoreboard except for a layup with 1:50 to play. The layup cut the Pioneer lead to three, 60-57. Next, the Norse missed a pair of 3 pointers that would have tied the game and on the second attempt; Gerber came away with his ninth rebound of the night. He and B.J. Litz each made two free throws to seal the victory for the Pioneers.
Next, the Pioneers will host Concordia on Friday at 7 p.m. and North Park on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the UW-Platteville Gabe Miller Tip-Off Classic.
Post-Game Interview with Eric Gerber
Boxscore | Photo Gallery by Andy McNeill | Video Highlights by UW-Platteville Sports Information Office