Manning, Stangel carry Pioneers to postseason on Senior NightBy Colten Bartholomew • February 16, 2012 • Category: Sports
In the final game of the regular season, senior Brett Stangel and freshman Jake Manning were catalysts in the Pioneers 60-58 win over UW-Eau Claire.
The first half was sloppy, as the Pioneers had a stretch of three straight possessions ending with turnovers. Both teams went cold around the 10 minute mark, with neither squad scoring for nearly four minutes.
Action picked up late in the first, and as the Blugolds missed a last-second 3-point shot, the Pioneers took a 26-23 lead into the halftime break.
After halftime, UW-Eau Claire came out firing, making five of their first seven shots while building a six-point lead.
The Pioneers answered quickly. Senior guards B.J. Litz and Stangel hit back-to-back 3-pointers to knot the game up at 40 with 12 minutes to go.
The home team went on 7-0 run to put the score at 55-48, and after trading buckets, the Blugolds were able to pull even at 57 with 2:45 to play, setting up the exciting finish.
Stangel made a free-throw-line jumper to put the Pioneers up by three, followed by a Blugold free throw to put the score at 60-58. The Blugolds had a chance to win with a desperation 3-pointer in the waning seconds, but the attempt sailed long and the Pioneers hung on for the playoff-securing win.
Stangel poured in a game-high 23 points, including going 8-8 from the free-throw line, and pulling down a team-high eight rebounds. Manning supplemented the offense with 15 points of his own.
The Blugolds, who had three players in double figures, were topped by Jordan Peterson who scored 11 and James Pfitzinger who scored 10 points on 5-7 shooting.