Men’s basketball takes down Superior
The UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team completed a three game home stand last night with their third straight victory as the team beat the UW-Superior Yellowjackets 69-55 in Zorn Arena. The win brings Eau Claire to 13-6 overall and 5-5 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
Despite shooting 25 percent from the field in the first ten minutes of play, along with 6’9” center James Pfitzinger not being able to suit up, the Blugolds won thanks to two big momentum swings at the end of the first half and early in the second half.
Eau Claire led in almost every major statistical category including shooting percentage, threepoint shooting percentage, assists and steals.
The Yellowjackets only shot 39 percent while the Blugolds shot 49 percent from the floor, a large part of their success.
Freshman guard Alex Anderson led the charge in the first half rally by scoring four points, including a three-pointer that got the crowd into the game, and sent the team into the locker room leading by a score of 34-27. Anderson played just 14 minutes, but had nine points on seven shot attempts. He said that he really felt comfortable out there with his shots.
“It’s about confidence, it’s in the flow of the game. You see a shot and you don’t want to hesitate,” Anderson said.
Although the Blugolds did win by 14 points, their sluggish start may be an issue as the team goes forward toward the end of the year tournament. However, first year coach Kyle Green doesn’t think it will become a pattern.
“In the first half we settled for too many threes” Green said. “At halftime we talked about just getting to the rim, still take some threes, but get to the rim first and create those opportunities. I think it paid off.”
Junior guard Jordan Petersen led the Blugolds in scoring with 14 points, including 12 points in the first half. Junior forward Nick Craggs was the only other Blugold to score in double figures with 13 points.
The bench play was a big factor in the game. The Eau Claire bench outscored Superior’s bench 24-10. Nine players scored at least four points in the win, something that coach Green thinks is essential going forward.
“The success of this team is going come as a team … we don’t have a guy that is necessarily an all-conference player, but as a team, we can be an all-conference team,” Green said.
Seven-foot UW-Superior center Bronson Byrne led the Yellowjackets in scoring with 14. The Blugolds fouled Byrne often in the game, which ended up being a blessing in disguise. Byrne went 2-9 from the free throw, and the team as a whole shot 7-17.
The Blugolds will travel to UW-Whitewater on Saturday to take on the conference-leading Warhawks, who are 17-2 overall and 8-2 in WIAC play.