Cross, rebounding anchor men’s team


Submitted photo

Senior center Chas Cross looks for an open teammate on an inbound play Dec. 4 against University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The Winnebago, Ill., native recorded a career-high in rebounds (17) and blocks (five) against the Titans. Cross is the reigning WIAC Player of the Year.

Senior center Chas Cross helped the Pioneer men’s basketball team (6-2, 2-0 WIAC) arise victorious against the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 80-66, dominating a majority of the game held at Bo Ryan Court, Dec. 4.

Cross recorded a double-double with 20 points and 17 rebounds. Cross’ 17 boards was a career-high, along with a career-best five blocks.

“Today, we were coming off with two losses, and we came with a lot of energy. Everyone was ready to get back out and play again, so it was what really got us off to the good start,” Cross said.

“Another big thing was just movement; we kept moving on offense and got a lot of kick-out threes that were wide open, a lot of lay ups, [and] got to the free-throw line. We were really aggressive, so that’s what really helped us.”

In the beginning of the first half, the Pioneers displayed good movement on the court, focusing on quick plays and accurate shots on the offensive end, along with tight guarding on the defensive end. The Titans struggled to push through the Pioneers’ defensive barriers and immediately fell behind from the beginning.

At halftime, the score was 43-27.

Throughout the second half, the Pioneers continued to hold a steady 21-point lead, but UW-Oshkosh made a good push near the end of the game to bring the home team’s lead down to its ultimate 14.

It was the defensive lapses late in the game that senior point guard Eric Gerber wants the team to improve on.

“When we get a lead, [we] need to keep pushing it. We kind of let them [UW-Oshkosh] get back in the game a little bit,” Gerber said. “We got to be good enough to keep pushing it to 20, 25 and 30, and keep getting better with that.”

Head coach Jeff Gard was pleased with the win against UW-Oshkosh and addressed the importance of team success.

“We had a good team-game tonight,” Gard said. “From an offensive standpoint and the way we moved the basketball, [we had] our 2:1 assisted turnover ratio, with 18 assists and nine turnovers. Individuals had some high numbers, but those individuals can’t have high numbers without the success of the other guys on the floor.”

However, Gard wants to see his team continue challenging themselves, knowing what they are capable of doing, and make sure their expectations are going to be met.

Gard also said he has faith in the team’s leadership core, specifically in Cross and Gerber.

“It’s good to see their maturity as they’ve grown, and know how they’re starting to take on that leadership role. Those are the things that are going to carry on for the rest of their lives,” Gard said.

The Pioneers continued their dominance on the boards on Dec. 7, out rebounding the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Falcons 37-25, as sophomore guard led the team with his 18 points on eight of 10 shooting.

UW-Platteville played on the road last night at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and have their last game before the university’s winter break on Saturday at Carthage.