Basketball teams fall to rival Blue Devils

Story by Janelle Gergen

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The UW-Eau Claire men’s and women’s basketball teams came away with twin losses Saturday at Johnson Fieldhouse in Menomonie. Two close games – both within seven points – ultimately handed the wins to UW-Stout.

For the men, this marks the end of the season, while the women continue with at least one more game in the WIAC Tournament.

Men

In spite of a school-record 17 three-pointers by the Blugolds, the Blue Devils won 94-87 in a back-and-forth battle to the end.

“From a fan’s perspective, I thought it was a pretty exciting game,” said coach Terry Gibbons. “I thought they played hard and showed a lot of intensity.”

The lead changed 10 times throughout the course of the game, though the Blugolds found themselves down by 12 less than a minute into the second half. They fought it back to a tie with about four minutes left, but following the record-breaking 17th three-pointer by senior Colin Boone ten seconds later, the team was held scoreless for the rest of the game.

“It was a really fun game to play,” senior Geoff Probst said. “It was pretty fast-paced, and I thought we played well.

“It just came down to the last couple minutes, and we couldn’t get a stop, and they were able to.”

During the game, four Blugolds – sophomore Josh Prince, freshman Marcus Ruh, Probst and junior Amadou Fofana – put up impressive scoring figures. Prince tallied the most for the team, notching 21 points and beating his previous career-high total.

The loss was the last game of the team’s season – giving them a 14-11-0 record overall – and now the Blugolds need to look forward to next year. Probst said the biggest thing to improve on is consistency, especially on the defense.

“I think that, defensively, there’s a lot of things we could’ve done,” he said. “Some games we wouldn’t play defense as well as we could have.”

He said they played well as a team, though, and the players had a lot of heart.

“I thought that at any given night, we had players that could show up and worry about the score,” he said, “so I think we were dangerous that way.”

Gibbons gives credit to the seniors for playing hard through seasons, and he thinks they’ve been a good example to the other players on the relatively young team. That youth, he said, can really help them in the future.

“I think (the young players) are ready to grab the reins and take the next step up the ladder.”

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