A great start to the UW-Platteville men's basketball season continued Saturday night as the Pioneers knocked off UW-Eau Claire 74-64 in their WIAC home opener.
A minute and 18 seconds into the game the Pioneers' Jake Showalter had already collected nine points to give UW-Platteville (12-1, 2-0) a 9-0 lead over UW-Eau Claire (8-5, 0-2). That lead was extended to 14-0 on a pair of baskets by Robert Duax and Matt Oestreich. The Pioneers saw themselves up by as many as 20, but a surge late in the first half by the Blugolds got them within 11 at the break.
UW-Eau Claire cut into UW-Platteville's lead several times in the second half, but could never overtake the Pioneers. UW-Platteville was up two with just over four minutes remaining, but outscored the Blugolds 11-3 to finish the game.
Duax led all scorers in the game with 23 points. Showalter finished with 18 on 3-4 shooting from behind the arc and a perfect 3-3 from the free throw line. Carter Voelker and Oestreich added 11 and 10.
The Pioneers travel to UW-River Falls Wednesday, Jan. 10 to take on an Falcons team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season. The game begins at 7 p.m. in the Falcon Center.