PELLA, Iowa — Just four days after scoring one of the biggest victories in the Jeff Gard era (a 57–40 win at No. 6 North Central College), the UW–Platteville men's basketball team suffered an 86–77 non-conference loss at Central College Saturday afternoon at P.H. Kuyper Gym.
The Dutch dominated the first half 44–26 and Gard's Pioneers never could recover.The Pioneers fell to 5–2 on the season, while Central improved to 5–1.
Senior forward Colby Taylor was lights out to lead Central, scoring a game-high 31 points on 11 of 16 shooting, including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc. Taylor also grabbed a team-high 15 rebounds in the game.
The Dutch (5–1) were nearly unstoppable from 3-point land in the first 20 minutes, draining 10 of 20 from downtown and 14 of 35 from distance in the game.
Pete Walker added 15 points, eight boards and six assists for the victors.
Sophomore guard Robert Duax (Dubuque/Hempstead) scored a team-high 20 points to lead four Pioneers in double figures in the loss. He also had five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.
Junior forward Cory Vaassen (Dickeyville/Cuba City) pumped in a season-high 19 points and grabbed six boards. Junior guards Trey Sigel (Rock Island, Ill.) and Matt Oestreich (Marshfield) scored 10 points apiece in the loss. Oestreich added four rebounds and four assists. Junior Jake Showalter (Germantown) chipped in eight points and three rebounds off the bench.
The Dutch raced out to an 11–3 lead, but the Pioneers battled back to tie the game at 13–13 on a Showalter 3-pointers with 13:25 left in the opening half.
A 9–0 Central run pushed the lead to 22–13, but UW–Platteville once again chipped away at the lead to pull within eight on two occasions. But Central closed the half on a 14–4 run to build a commanding 44–26 lead.
The Dutch led by as many as 23 points in the second half at 62–39 on a Walker layup with 13:29 left in the game.
The Pioneers fought valiantly until the final horn and twice cut the deficit to eight points in the final minute, first at 80–72 and again at 82–74 with 36 seconds left.
UW–Platteville shot a season-low 39.7 percent (27-of-68) in the game while allowing Central to convert on 47.4 percent (27-of-57) of its field goal attempts for the game.
The Pioneers will now have an 11-day break before returning to action Wednesday, Dec. 14 at home against Dubuque University. The Spartans (2–2) are coming off a 96–78 victory over Loras on Saturday afternoon.
By Jason Nihles, UW–Platteville Athletics