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Whitewater men notch big victory at Platteville

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Erin Murphy/Special to the Gazette
February 14, 2008
— PLATTEVILLE

Playing for conference supremacy in a hostile road environment—one he called the “craziest” he’s seen all year—Matt Goodwin delivered a virtuoso performance.


Goodwin scored 32 points, including 18 in the final seven minutes, as UW-Whitewater defeated UW-Platteville, 70-66, in a battle for first place in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball Wednesday night in front of a raucous crowd of 1,354 here at Williams Fieldhouse.


The teams entered the game tied atop the WIAC standings. Whitewater (19-3, 11-2), the No. 2 team in the country, according to D3hoops.com, now controls its destiny with three conference dates remaining. That starts with Saturday’s trip to ninth-ranked UW-Stevens Point.


“We realized this was the biggest game of the season so far. We have our goal of winning the conference,” Goodwin said. “We didn’t want to come here and get a loss.”


Goodwin saw to that, almost single-handedly. He made 11 of 18 field-goal attempts, half his three-pointers and all six free throws.


“The kid’s a winner, obviously,” Whitewater coach Pat Miller said. “He put us on his shoulders tonight. He was fabulous.”


Whitewater used a 19-2 second-half run—capped by a Goodwin three—to take a 61-50 lead with just 3:50 left.


Not to be deterred, 16th-ranked Platteville (17-5, 10-3) made a couple late pushes that kept the outcome in doubt to the bitter end. But every time the Pioneers got close, Goodwin intervened.


Perhaps the biggest dagger came with two minutes left. Platteville had just cut the lead to five and forced the Warhawks deep into the shot clock. With a violation just a tick away, Goodwin fired a hurried, off-balance three-pointer—and nailed it.


“That wasn’t a set play, just scramble time,” Goodwin said. “I just hit a shot.”


When Platteville again got too close for comfort, closing the gap to just a single point with 25 seconds to play, Goodwin scored his team’s final six points. His four free throws kept the Pioneers at arm’s length, and his layup put the finishing touch on a monumental victory.


“When they needed a basket … I really thought their guys made plays when they had to,” Platteville coach Paul Combs said. “(Goodwin) made great plays down the stretch. He made some tough shots, played without fear.”


Kori Vernon added 10 points for Whitewater. Josh Langenfeld scored 20 points, and Curt Hanson had 17 for Platteville, while the Pioneers’ 6-foot-10 center, Jeff Skemp, posted a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.


It was a far cry, however, from the 30 points Skemp dumped on the Warhawks in the teams’ first meeting—a 79-73 Platteville victory.


What did Whitewater do differently this time around against Skemp?


“Absolutely nothing,” Miller said. “We just did it correctly. All we wanted to do was force him to make shots over us.”


Wednesday’s showdown had a retro feel, harkening back to the 1990s when both schools featured programs of national relevance and coaches Bo Ryan and Dave Vander Meulen led their exceptional squads into many memorable battles.


Ryan and Vander Meulen are both gone, but this latest Whitewater-Platteville affair, considering what was at stake, belongs in the same discussion as those ’90s classics.


“We’re athletes. We love big games like this,” Goodwin said. “I just really enjoyed playing in this game.’’


WHITEWATER 70, PLATTEVILLE 66


Whitewater (70)—Goodwin 11-18 6-6 32, McKay 2-7 0-0 5, Koski 3-7 0-1 6, King 2-3 0-0 4, Vernon 4-5 2-3 10, Negri 1-2 0-0 2, Mitchell 2-5 0-0 4, Brezovar 0-0 0-0 0, Kolinske 3-6 0-0 7. Totals: 28-53 8-10 70.


Platteville (66)—Hanson 6-8 4-6 17, Langenfeld 7-14 4-6 20, Lohoff 3-9 0-0 6, Wall 3-4 1-2 7, Skemp 4-7 5-5 13, Shaw 0-5 0-0 0, Richter 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 1-2 0-0 3, Tetschlag 0-0 0-0 0, Henney 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-51 14-19 66.


UW-Whitewater 38 32—70


UW-Platteville 28 38—66


Three-point goals—Whitewater 6-14 (Goodwin 4-8, McKay 1-3, Koski 0-2, Kolinske 1-1), Platteville 4-11 (Hanson 1-2, Langenfeld 2-4, Lohoff 0-1, Shaw 0-2, Allen 1-2). Fouled out—King, Mitchell. Rebounds—Whitewater 21 (Kolinske 8), Platteville 30 (Skemp 10). Assists—Whitewater 19 (Koske5), Platteville 10 (Langenfeld 4). Total fouls—Whitewater 19, Platteville 17.



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