PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Sophomore guard Robert Duax (Dubuque, Iowa/Hempstead) lit up the scoreboard to the tune of a game-high 29 points to lead the University of Wisconsin–Platteville men's basketball team to a wire-to-wire 78–70 non-conference victory over Lake Forest (Ill.) in the second game of men's-women's doubleheader Saturday night at Bo Ryan Court.
Junior guard Trey Sigel (Rock Island, Ill.) scored the game's first points on a layup in the first 20 seconds, then Duax buried back-to-back 3-pointers in the next two minutes to jump-start his career-high scoring performance.
Sophomore center Clay Gerds (Fort Atkinson) scored inside moments later and a Duax layup gave the Pioneers a 12–2 lead at the 16:27 mark of the first half.
Duax finished with 29 points on 9 of 16 shooting from the field and 9 of 11 from the free throw line. He also passed out a team-high six assists and had three of the Pioneers' 10 steals.
Sophomore Colin Kramper (Downers Grove, Ill.) came off the bench to add a first-half boost, scoring eight of his season-high 10 points in the first 20 minutes of play, as UW–Platteville built a 36–27 lead.
The Pioneer lead grew to as many as 20 points in the second half when junior wing Jake Showalter buried a 3-pointer on a feed from Duax to make it 56–36 with 13:49 remaining in the game.
Lake Forest's Danny Sotos scored eight of his team-high 20 points over the final 13 minutes to close the gap, but the Foresters never got closer than six points at 68–62 on Eric Porter's layup with 1:14 remaining.
The Pioneers sank eight straight free throws in the final 66 seconds — four by junior guard Matt Oestreich (Marshfield) — and a Duax layup with eights seconds remaining put the finishing touches on the victory.
UW–Platteville shot a season-best 53.1 percent from the field and assisted on 17 of their 26 made baskets. The Pioneers also 19 of 25 attempts fromt the free throw line (76 percent).
Oestreich finished with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Gerds added 10 points, a team-high eight boards and three blocks for the victorious Pioneers. Junior forward Dan Lowe (Byron, Ill.) added seven points and four rebounds in 18 minutes of the bench.
The Pioneers improved to 4–1 with the victory, while the Foresters fell to 1–3.
UW–Platteville will return to action Tuesday night at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. The Cardinals were ranked 13th in the men's D3hoops.com preseason poll and are off to a perfect 3–0 start after an 88–78 victory over Aurora (Ill.) Friday night.
By Jason Nihles, UW–Platteville Athletics