Alumni honored, Pioneers rebound with victory
sconsin-Platteville men’s basketball team trumped the University of Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjackets, 76-62, Jan. 25 at Bo Ryan Court.
Saturday’s game featured Coaches Against Cancers, which consisted of coaches around the area sporting a “Suits and Sneakers” outfit to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Both men’s and women’s basketball had the opportunity to celebrate Alumni Night and honor a few outstanding Pioneers. Ben Hoffman was recognized for his outstanding performace on a previous championship Pioneer team.
Junior Jim Stocki led the current Pioneers to a victory over the Yellowjackets with 17 points. Seniors Chas Cross and Eric Gerber added 12 points each. Cross also achieved a career-high five steals and a game-high nine rebounds. Junior Jake Manning contributed 10 points to complete the double digit scorers for the Pioneers.
“It was a tough game,” Jim Stocki said. “It was another conference game, so it was good to start off 1-0 for the second half of the conference season.”
The Pioneers gained an early 24-12 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half. UW-Platteville gave an immense effort to shut down the Yellowjackets’ 6’11 center Dan Lochner.
“We had to stop their big 7 footer down low and I thought we did a really good job on him,” freshman Cory Vaassen said.
UW-Superior went on a seven minute, 18-2 run, where they netted their biggest lead of the game, 30-26. Layups by seniors, Chas Cross and Eric Gerber, tied the game up at 30 going into halftime.
The Pioneers scored a quick 10 points to take a 40-32 lead, just three minutes into the second half. Platteville’s aggressive defense created separation for the largest lead of the game, 55-41.
UW-Superior found itself playing the foul game, which UW-Platteville was able to capitalize on at the free throw line.
“In the first half, we didn’t shoot a free throw, so in the second half, we were able to get to the line a little more and score some easy points there,” Jim Stocki said. “We were able to work through our big guys and work a little more inside-out.”
UW-Superior was unable to answer to the Pioneers’ lead and never got any closer than eight points throughout the final eight minutes of the game.
Head coach Jeff gard said, “I thought, in the second half, the guys did a real good job of executing offensively and getting the stops defensively. That was a big emphasis of picking up that intensity from a defensive end of the floor and getting consecutive stops, then making them pay a little more on the offensive end.”