In a battle for first place among the heavyweights in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, host UW-Stevens Point topped UW-Platteville 80-74 Saturday night.
The last undefeated team in conference play, UWSP used a 12-6 closing run to break a tie and claim the victory. Canon O-Heron's layup with 1:58 remaining gave the Pointers the lead for good at 68-66. Drew Fredrickson's three-point basket with 38 seconds left was a back-breaker for the Pioneers, as UWSP forged a 73-67 lead. The Pioneers' Carter Voelker brought the Pioneers within 79-74 with 14 seconds left, but MJ Delmore made 1-2 free throws with 10 ticks remaining to seal the deal.
The Pointers improved to 12-5 overall and 6-0 in the WIAC, while the Pioneers slipped to 14-3, 4-2.
Matt Oestreich poured in 25 points to lead the Pioneers, while Voelker scored 19 and Robert Duax 15. O'Heron's 18 points paced four Pointers in double figures. UW-Platteville knocked down 53.8 percent of its shots, and the hosts connected on 49 percent in the back-and-forth affair.
At 14-3 and with a victory over sixth-ranked UW Oshkosh last Wednesday, Coach Jeff Gard's Pioneers still are off to their best start of the season since a 19-2 beginning to the 2008-09 campaign.
The task doesn't get any easier Wednesday, as the Pioneers play at #2 UW-Whitewater, which also sports 14-3, 4-2 records. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. After that contest, the Pioneers play four of their final seven at home as the WIAC race heads towards its usual wild finish.
By Paul Erickson, Director, UW-Platteville Communications, 608.342.1194, firstname.lastname@example.org