STEVENS POINT, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-Platteville men's basketball team defeated top-seeded UW-Stevens Point, 60-56, in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship Semifinal on Thursday on Bennett Court.
Junior duo of Chas Cross and Eric Gerber combined for 34 of the Pioneers 60 points. Cross went 8-11 from the field and 3-4 from beyond the arc for a game-high 21 points and tallied a team-best five rebounds and three blocks. Gerber scored 13 points and dished out three assists. The Pioneers had eight players score with Cross and Gerber the only ones scoring in double figures.
DeVon Jackson led the Pointers with 16 points, and the only other double-digit scorer was Trevor Hass with 12.
The Pointers took their largest lead of the game 14-9 with 11:56 left in the first-half. Sophomore Jake Manning got the Pioneers back on track by nailing two straight jumpers before Cross's pair of free throws giving the Pioneers an 17-16 advantage at the 7:17 mark. In the last seven minutes of the half, the game changed hands eight times as UW-Platteville took a 30-29 lead into halftime. The Pioneers shot a stellar 57.1% (12-21) from the floor and 4-9 from three-point land.
UW-Platteville made some great halftime adjustments and took a 38-32 lead just two minutes into the second-half. The Pioneers never allowed UWSP to make a run as UW-Platteville took a 58-54 lead off a fast break layup by Jim Stocki with 16.6 seconds left to play. Jackson put the Pointers back within two but Gerber nailed a pair of clutch free throws sealing UW-Platteville's 60-56 victory with 8.7 seconds left.
The Pioneers travels to UW-Whitewater on Saturday at 7 p.m. for the WIAC Championship game.
Pioneer fans the UW-Platteville Athletic Department will be offering a fan bus to Saturday's championship game for $25 per person. Call (608) 342-1567 to get your spot on the bus.