STEVENS POINT, Wis. – In a game with 15 lead changes and eight ties, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville men's basketball team was nipped by the 7th-ranked UW-Stevens Point Pointers, 65-60, Wednesday night on Bennett Court.
Free throws proved to be the difference in the game as UWSP (15-2, 8-0 WIAC) sunk 15-16 and the Pioneers (11-6, 4-4 WIAC) made 9-15; with both teams' shooting over 45-percent from the field and over 58-percent from beyond the arc.
Junior Chas Cross was a rebound away from his second double-double of the season and scored a game-high 21 points. Junior Brad Reinke netted a career-high 11 points while sophomore Jim Stocki added 10 points.
The Pointers' Trevor Hass nailed 5-6 three-pointers for a team-high 21 points, followed by Clayton Heuer's 13 points. Austin Ryf dished out nine assist to go with his 11 points.
In a back and forth first 10 minutes of the contest Stocki scored five points in 30 seconds, giving the Pioneers their largest lead of the first-half, 24-20, with just over nine minutes to halftime. A three-pointer by Hass in the closing seconds of the half gave UWSP a 33-31 advantage going into intermission.
The Pioneers managed to regain the lead on a 7-0 run, 45-40, earning their largest lead of the game with 12:24 left to play. A pair of free throws by Hass with 7:19 left in the game, gave the Pointers the lead for good, 49-47. Reinke nailed a three-pointer with 18 seconds left, cutting UWSP's lead to a point, 61-60. Ryf made two free throws in the ensuing possession giving the Pointers a three-point lead with 12 ticks to play. In the final ten seconds, junior Eric Gerber missed a game-tying three-pointer and a pair of free throws by Joe Ritchay sealed UWSP the 65-60 victory.
UW-Platteville travels to the other side of the state to UW-Superior on Saturday. Tip is set for 1 p.m. in Mertz Mortorelli Gymnasium.