PLATTEVILLE — The UW–Platteville men's basketball team couldn't shake its recent losing streak Wednesday night.
Junior guard Chris Jones scored a game-high 25 points to lead 21st-ranked UW–Whitewater to a 68–64 come-from-behind victory over host UW–Platteville at Bo Ryan Court in the Pioneers' Coaches Powering Forward for Autism Game.
Coaches wore blue Autism Speaks puzzle piece pins during the game, joining more than 300 NCAAA coaches and their staffs to help increase understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder as an urgent global public health and social issue.
Jones and fellow junior Demetrius Woodley combined to score the Warhawks final 15 points as UW–Whitwater rallied from a 57–53 deficit with a 15–7 run in the game's final 3:49.
Jones converted a 3-point play with 1:50 left to play to give the Warhawks a 58–57 lead, then made four clutch free throws in the final 13 seconds to seal the win.
Junior forward Cory Vaassen (Dickeville/Cuba City) gave the Pioneers a 59–58 lead with 1:34 left.
Woodley scored in the paint on the ensuing possession then made four straight free throws left to give the visitors a 64–59 lead with 23 seconds left.
The Pioneers twice cut the lead to two points in the closing seconds, first on a Vaassen 3-pointer with 19 seconds to play, then on a layup by freshman Carter Voelker (Kiel) with five seconds left, but both times Jones converted a pair from the line.
UW–Platteville led by as many as eight points at 30–22 with seven minutes left in the first half, but the Warhawks closed the half on a 14–2 run. Whitewater never led by more than six the entire game.
The Pioneers held UW–Whitewater to just 43 percent shooting (25 of 58), made 8 of 15 3-point attempts in the game and won the rebound battle 33–25, but the Warhawks took advantage of 18 UW–Platteville turnovers to gain a 27–8 advantage in points off turnovers.
Vaassen scored a team-high points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Pioneers in defeat. Junior Trey Sigel (Rock Island, Ill.) added 17 points and four 3-pointers in 23 minutes off the bench.
UW–Platteville fell to 8–12 overall and 1–8 in the WIAC with its fourth straight loss. UW–Whitewater improved to 17–3 and 6–3 in league play with its sixth straight win.
The Pioneers will return to action Saturday at UW–La Crosse with a 5 p.m. tip-off. The Eagles (10–10, 2–7 WIAC) defeated UW–Platteville 77–66 at Bo Ryan Court on Jan. 21.