Basketball streak ends

The UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team lost its first game since Nov. 17 on Saturday, dropping a 64-49 match to UW-La Crosse.

The loss snapped the Blugolds’ winning streak at five games and sullied what had previously been a perfect conference record, moving Eau Claire to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the WIAC.

Both teams battled for an advantage in the early minutes of Saturday’s game, with the lead changing hands five times in the first seven minutes. By the end of the first half, the Eagles had only climbed out to a tentative five-point advantage, sending the Blugolds to the locker room down 29-24.

La Crosse opened the second period on an 18-5 run and led 47-29 with nine minutes remaining. Eau Claire made small cuts into the lead, but the margin remained in double digits for the rest of the contest, with La Crosse pressing its lead to as many as 19 points at some points.

Senior Dan Beyer led the way for Eau Claire with 18 points. Freshman Ryan Shea, who put 11 points on the board, was the only other Blugold to score in double digits.

Aside from the scoreboard, both teams were, by most accounts, an even match for the other. Both teams shot roughly 40 percent from the floor, and both recorded near-similar tally marks in rebounds, assists, blocked shots and steals.

Eau Claire lost the game on its three-point shooting and free-throws, though. The Blugolds went 0-10 from beyond the 3-point arc and shot only 61.1 percent from the free-throw line. La Crosse went 43.8 percent from the arc and 83.3 percent from the line.

The Blugolds will take on Finlandia University (Minn.) this Saturday before taking a nearly two-week break between games.