Men’s basketball loses at home
The UW-Eau Claire’s men’s basketball team was defeated by a large margin Saturday night with a 63-41 loss to the UW-River Falls Falcons at Zorn Arena.
The Blugolds shot a season-low 27.3 percent from the floor, while scoring a season-low for points as the Falcons ran away with the game early. Coach Kyle Green said he thought toughness was a big factor in his team’s play Saturday night.
“It came down to physicality, physical toughness, physical strength,” Green said. “(River Falls is) a strong team, in this league you need to be able to respond to physical play.”
Eau Claire was unable to keep up with that physical play from the Falcons, as they were outrebounded 42-29 and allowing four Falcon players to score in double figures.
Eau Claire had the lead with just under nine minutes to play in the first half after junior forward Nick Craggs hit a three-pointer to make the score 14-13; but that would be the last lead they would have.
The Falcons closed out the first half with a 15-7 run and that momentum carried over into the second half. Senior center James Pfitzinger thought those runs were a crucial part in the game.
“We were looking to come out in the second half strong, and they hit some big shots on us and I think we lost our composure a little bit at that point,” Pfitzinger said. “That really contributed to us not staying focused.”
The Blugolds were held scoreless for 6:28 of game play in the second half, and at one point trailed by as much as 27 points.
Eau Claire’s top scorer this season, junior Jordan Petersen, scored one point on 0-10 shooting from the floor on Saturday for the Blugolds. Including Saturday’s loss, Peterson is averaging 14.8 points per game on the season.
Junior guard Nick Bartlett had a team-high 11 points, while Pfitzinger contributed a double-double recording 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The loss puts the Blugolds at 14-8 on the year and a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record of 6-7. They are one game behind UW-Superior for a first-round home playoff game with three conference games remaining.
Senior forward Shane Manor led the charge for the Falcons, pouring in 14 points and senior center Wade Guerin chipped in 12 points and 11 rebounds. The win gives UW-River Falls a record of 16-5 overall with a 10-2 record in the WIAC.
The Blugolds will travel to Menomonie on February 11 to face the UW-Stout Blue Devils. Once again, focus has been a topic of interest for many Blugold players, and junior guard Nick Bartlett was no exception.
“We have to keep working hard throughout the entire week, staying focused, staying committed, and understanding the principles that we have to play by if we are going to win,” Bartlett said.
UW-Stout has a record of 6-15 heading into the match-up with the Blugolds Feb. 11.