Late rally falls short against Yellowjackets

Lyssa Beyer

Frustrated by his team’s poor play in the first half, Blugold coach Terry Gibbons benched his starters to begin the second. Trailing 41-22, the 13th-year coach allowed his subs to play for a few minutes while senior Dan Beyer sat scoreless; five points shy of 1,000 for his career.

“We’ve got guys that work hard in practice and we just wanted to get some kids involved and get our other kids going,” Gibbons said. “And I think it . kind of sent a message, fired up kids. They came out and played hard in the second half.”

Once Beyer checked in, he didn’t waste any time reaching the milestone, all the while firing his team up for a comeback that fell short in an 88-81 loss to UW-Superior at Zorn Arena last night.

Unable to break Superior’s 2-3 zone defense in the first, Gibbons said he made some adjustments at halftime that resulted in Beyer going on a scoring run inside. After more than 24 scoreless minutes by the senior forward, he scored five in 17 seconds to shift the momentum toward UW-Eau Claire and put him into the Blugold record book as a member of the 1,000-point club.

“It feels great,” Beyer said. “I wish it could have came on a win, but that’s unfortunate . I’m kind of glad it’s done now. It’s behind me . I’m just looking forward to going out and playing again on Saturday.”

Beyer scored 22 points, all of which came in the second half. He added seven rebounds and three assists.

But the story of the night was the Yellowjackets 3-point shooting. Superior shot 11 of 15 from beyond the arc. Eau Claire had no answer for Superior’s guards, Dan Culy and Dwight Hill. The two combined for 43 points on 14 of 20 shooting.

“They shot well,” Beyer said. “. It was just one of those nights for them. We weathered the storm in the second half but we were just in too big of a hole.”

Superior shot over 60 percent from the floor. Eau Claire shot just under 50 percent.

Eau Claire scratched to get back into the game during the second half. After trailing by as many as 24, the Blugolds went on a 12-1 run to close to within 13. Beyer and junior Geoff Probst led the Blugolds on the run, scoring all 12 points.

Probst finished with 18 points, much of which came while the forward appeared to be in pain, oftentimes limping up the court.

Many of the ‘Golds points came on the run as they switched to a full-court press, forcing 14 turnovers. They trimmed the Superior lead down to five with 20 seconds left, but the ‘Jackets hit enough free throws to keep the Blugolds out of contention.