Wednesday loss keeps men in middle of conference pack

The UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team, which just three weeks ago lost by 20 points to conference leader UW-Stevens Point, kept that same team on a short leash Wednesday night but wound up losing 61-58.

The Pointers led 21-6 with nine minutes remaining in the first half, but a 23-12 Blugold run put Eau Claire within four points at the half.

The Blugolds tied the game up twice in the second half and never trailed by more than six, but couldn’t get over the hump and finished the game still trailing by three.

Senior Dan Beyer scored nearly half the Blugolds’ points, putting up 24 tally marks on 10-of-17 shooting. Beyer also led the team in rebounds, with 13 boards to his name. No other Blugold scored in double digits.

The loss drops the Blugolds to 7-7 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and 13-9 overall. Eau Claire now sits at fourth place in the conference, with Point reigning atop the nine-team league.

Men take game Saturday at Falls
Saturday’s game against conference opponent UW-River Falls was the big one the Blugolds almost let slip away.

After trailing by as many as 16 points late in the first half, host River Falls climbed back to within four points by halftime and gained a series of narrow leads over the Blugolds in the second period. Hot hands from the free-throw line helped salvage the game for Eau Claire, though, which squeaked by with a 78-72 win on the road.

Sophomore Ryan Shea scored a team-high 15 points and four other Blugolds scored in the double digits. Senior Dan Beyer pitched in 14 points, junior Geoff Probst scored 13, and sophomore Amadou Fofana and junior Colin Boone each added 10 more to the Blugolds’ points column.

Eau Claire outshot River Falls 67 percent to 42 percent from the field in the first half and held a double-digit lead for more than 10 minutes during the first half. But a late-period comeback brought the Falcons back into the game by halftime and for much of the second half.

The Blugolds were behind as late as the final six minutes of the game, but 7 of 10 free-throw shooting in the waning minutes, as well as a few timely layups, gave Eau Claire just enough gas to slip by with the win.