The University of Wisconsin-Platteville men’s basketball team started fast, watched UW-La Crosse claw back into the WIAC game, then used a strong finish to top the Eagles 74-67 Saturday night.

UW-L, which has lost three straight to fall to 11-10 overall and 3-7 in the WIAC under interim coach Kent Dernbach, trailed by 17 points in the first half in a game played before 350 fans in Mitchell Hall. The Eagles, however, would close the first half on a 17-6 run to close the gap to 43-37 at the half.

Ben Meinholz, Brendon Manning and Taulvish McCray sparked the Eagles in both halves. Meinholz, who finished with a team-high 14 points, and Manning, who had 10, helped UW-L close to within 65-61 of the No. 20 Pioneers with 5 minutes, 55 seconds left.

The Pioneers would answer, however, as Robert Duax hit one of two free throws, and Carter Voelker would complete a three-point play to push Platteville’s lead to 69-61 with 4:14 left.

Platteville (18-3, 18-2) rode a balanced scoring attack as five different players reached double figures.

Voelker led Platteville with 18 points, while Duax had 16. The Pioneers did some damage from the outside, hitting 8 of 16 3-point attempts.

UW-L, which also received 10 points from Sam Skoyen and nine from McCray, was 8-for-11 from the foul line and 7-for-21 from 3-point territory.

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