Men’s basketball picks up first WIAC win at UW-RF

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville men’s basketball team suffered their first loss at the hands of Augustana College 69-57 in Rock Island, Ill, Nov. 27.

Head coach Jeff Gard said the team struggled to play with the same intensity as Augustana throughout the game.

“We played fatigued,” Gard said.  “It was our third game in four days, but that’s no excuse.”

“We had too many turnovers and didn’t rebound as well as we normally do,” said junior guard Eric Gerber.

Gard and senior forward Rob Stallion agreed that turnovers were an issue, as the Pioneers had 16 to Augustana’s 12.

The Pioneers played better defensively the second half.  They held Augustana to 23 percent shooting from the field, compared to 57 percent in the first half.  Platteville shot consistently throughout the game at just under 36 percent.

The leading scorers for the Pioneers included sophomore forward Jake Manning with 13, junior forward Chas Cross with 10 and Gerber with nine.  Freshman guard Trevor Wittwer added nine off the bench.

“This loss was a good wake up call for us before we start conference play,” Stallion said.

Gard said he hoped the Pioneers would come healthy and well-rested Saturday for their road game at University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  The message was heard by his squad, who beat the Falcons 74-48 in their WIAC debut.

The Pioneers had three starters with double digit points, led by Cross with 21.  Cross shot 8-12 from the field and got to the free throw line nine times in the contest.

Standout freshmen Wittwer and forward Cory Vaassen made solid contributions off the bench.  Wittwer scored 14 points, powered by four 3-pointers, and Vaassen neared a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds.