MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville men's basketball team only trailed NCAA Division I Wisconsin, 37-30, at halftime. The Badgers pulled away midway through the second half for a 80-51 win over the Pioneers in an exhibition game on Wednesday in the Kohl Center.
The Pioneers went up 2-0 on the game's first possession when junior Jim Stocki found a open Chas Cross right in front of the basket. UW-Platteville took its last lead of the game, 12-11, on Jake Manning's three-pointer. The Badgers led 20-18 with just under 11 minutes left in the half and went on a 13-0 run, taking their biggest lead of the half, 33-18. The Pioneers managed to cut their deficit to seven points at the break,, 37-30.
UW-Platteville shot a solid 50 percent (11-22) from the field and held the Badgers to 42.4 percent (14-33) from the floor and 9.1 percent (1-11) from three-point range.
"What a difference when you start making shots in the second half from 3-point range. In the first half I think (Wisconsin) was 1-for-11 and then 6-for-11 in the second half," said head coach Jeff Gard.
Junior Wes Nemitz converted a three-point play to put the Pioneers within two possessions, 46-40, with 13:19 left to play. Two quick layups by UW's freshman Nigel Hayes brought the Badgers' led back to double-figures, 50-40. The Pioneers couldn't seem to find a bucket over the next seven minutes and the Badgers started to make their shots taking a commanding 69-45 lead with just under six minutes to play. UW-Platteville wasn't able to make a run and fell 80-51.
Stocki led the team with 14 points and three assists, while senior Eric Gerber added 11 points. Cross grabbed a game-high eight rebounds to go with his nine points, and Nemitz ended his night with nine points.
"I loved the fight and I love the group that we've got to move forward with for the WIC play," said Gard.
The Pioneers will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 15 against Indiana Dabney in the Gabe Miller Tip-off Classic.