UW-Platteville Pioneers way to top of WIAC - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UW-Platteville Pioneers way to top of WIAC

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With a win over the top team in the WIAC on Wednesday, UW-Platteville now owns a share of the league crown with a 9-2 record in conference.  It's just the latest achievement in a break-out season for the Pioneers.

After putting up an average of more than 77 points per game, UW-Platteville has pioneered its way to a 19-3 overall record.

"There's not one thing I can put my finger on with this group," said coach Jeff Gard, about the improvement in his team.  "It's just a buy-in into the process and that it was all about."

Coach Gard says the pay-off comes after a few years of growing pains - and earning just one WIAC win last season.

"[Coach Gard says] just trust the process," said junior forward Clay Gerds.  "Do the little things. He says stay humble, know what you guys are. And at the end of the day, just play your best basketball."

"Our junior and senior class is doing a good job of leading this group," said Coach Gard.  "When you have that type of upper-classmen that are keeping their poise, it'll help everybody else kinda keep their head, too."

With UW-Platteville riding high - and Wisconsin Badger men's hoops poised to miss the NCAA tournament - it's a bit of a role reversal for the Gard brothers. Now it's Jeff who can give advice to his brother, Greg, head coach of the Badgers.  But Jeff says he loves having his brother's support.

"[Greg is] somebody that's great to be able to bounce some things off of," said coach Jeff Gard. "Even if you look back to really last year, we had a down year. Greg was really supportive of me - talking about staying within what you're all about, don't lose focus, don't get frustrated. And just treat every day like it's an opportunity to try to get better."

The Pioneers are the 9th-ranked team right now in the D3 basketball national rankings.  Coach Gard says that is the best ranking his team has had since he's been the head coach at UW-Platteville.

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