The No. 21 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater men's basketball team moved into sole possession of second place in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings Wednesday night by erasing a late deficit in a 68-64 victory at UW-Platteville.
The Warhawks (17-3 overall, 6-3 WIAC), who trail first-place and No. 4 UW-River Falls by three games with five to play, overcame a two-possession deficit with fewer than five minutes to play to extend their winning streak to six games.
Junior guard Chris Jones tallied a game-high 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting to lead UW-Whitewater, which hit a perfect 9-of-9 from the free-throw line in the second half and forced 18 turnovers for the game while committing only six of its own.
Sophomore guard/forward Derek Rongstad posted 14 points and four steals, while junior forward Demetrius Woodley collected 11 points and five rebounds. Senior guard Drew Bryson grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
The Pioneers (8-12, 1-8) jumped out to a 27-19 lead 13 minutes into the contest and led by the same margin two minutes later at 30-22.
The Warhawks recorded a 13-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Rongstad and Bryson, to take a five-point lead with 1:09 to play in the first.
UW-Whitewater held a 40-34 advantage two minutes, 44 seconds into the second half following a layup by Jones, but UW-Platteville embarked on a 12-0 surge to take a 46-40 lead with 12:10 remaining.
The Pioneers held the lead until the 5:31 mark, when sophomore guard Mitchell Pfeifer tied the affair at 53-53 on a layup. UW-Platteville knocked down a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession and led until there was 1:50 remaining, when Jones tied the game on a jumper and hit his free throw to convert a 3-point play and give the Warhawks a one-point lead.
Woodley gave UW-Whitewater the lead for good on a layup with 1:21 left and combined with Jones to hit 8-of-8 from the free-throw line over the final 38 seconds of regulation to preserve the lead.
The Warhawks return home Saturday to host UW-Stout at 5 p.m. The five-year anniversary of the 2012 national championship will be recognized as part of Alumni Day at Kachel Gymnasium.