Stocki and Johnson lead Pioneers in Gabe Miller Tip Off

Home court advantage is an understatement when considering the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Men’s basketball season opening Gabe Miller Tip Off Classic games. The Pioneers went up against the Coe College Kohawks and the Ripon College Redhawks Nov. 15 and 16.

The Gabe Miller Tipoff Classic is a two-day tournament dedicated to Gabe Miller, a former UW-Platteville basketball player who passed away just weeks after playing on the Pioneers’ 1995 undefeated national championship basketball team.  This year marks the 15th consecutive year of this tournament.

The Pioneers dominated the Kohawks Saturday, 80-51

Senior Forward, Jim Stocki, lead the Pioneers with 17 overall points followed by Sophomore Forward, Corey Vaassen, with 15.

Starting the game off with a strong three-point lead, Stocki continued strong throughout the duration of the game.

When the second half buzzer sounded the Pioneers were holding a strong 18-point lead, 26-4.

The high advantage did not deter the men away from putting their all into the second half. The Pioneers began with a two-point jump shot from junior guard, Boston Johnson.

Sophomore guard, Eric Gerber, helped the team finish strong scoring the final two points ending the game, 80-51.

“It was a collective team effort tonight, from the offensive end of the floor to a defensive end of the floor,” Gard said. “Not really knowing what Coe was going to bring out anytime you get those first games at the beginning of the year it is really hard to gage, you kind of go off of what they did last year.”

Senior guard, Coop Lewis, said that he thinks the team showed a great sense of urgency from the start of the game and played really well defensively.

This win closed out the first night of the tournament, as the Pioneers maintained high hopes of a repeat on day-two.

Sunday’s match against the Ripon College Red Hawks began with an impressive 18 points by Johnson and another 15 by Vassen and 14 points by Stocki.

At one point during the first half the Pioneers posted a 39-28 lead. The Pioneers also shot 60 percent, closing out the first half 43-35.

The second half gave way to as much as a 22-point Pioneer lead. The men concluded the game 78-66, defeating the Red Hawks.

Looking forward to the rest of the season, Jim Stocki is hopeful of a great year.

“There is a lot of talent on the team and you know, once we get everyone going along here I think we will be good,” Stocki said. “We expect to win the conference championship, that’s what we do every year. You know that’s our expectation so like I said once that talent comes together I think that that is a very obtainable goal.”