Late surge soars UW-Whitewater over UW-Eau Claire

Junior Pat McGuiness has taken his idea of running for president of Student Senate into a reality. McGuiness and his running mate, senior exercise management major Matthew Klimek, are the only ticket of the four running with no UW-Eau Claire Senate experience. One of the major issues the McGuiness/Klimek ticket will run on is the university's parking office.

Junior Pat McGuiness has taken his idea of running for president of Student Senate into a reality. McGuiness and his running mate, senior exercise management major Matthew Klimek, are the only ticket of the four running with no UW-Eau Claire Senate experience. One of the major issues the McGuiness/Klimek ticket will run on is the university's parking office.

Story by David Heiling

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The UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball streak of three consecutive wins ended Saturday night with a 67-49 loss to conference leading UW-Whitewater.

The Blugolds started the game with promise, leading eight to zero through two minutes and five seconds of game play, behind two three-point shots from juniors Nick Craggs and Jordan Petersen. That lead was quickly erased, and by the halftime whistle the Blugolds were losing 35-28.

Eau Claire would not re-gain the lead for the duration of the contest. The team couldn’t seem to find a way to physically compete with Whitewater, allowing the opposing team’s leading scorer, Chris Davis, 22 points and 13 rebounds.

Eau Claire junior Nick Bartlett said many factors contributed to Eau Claire’s performance on Saturday.

“Ultimately it came down to our toughness, our teamwork and our trust,” Bartlett said. “We weren’t able to sustain that for the whole 40 minutes of the game.”

The team shot the ball uncharacteristically weak in Saturday’s game, shooting only 34.5 percent from the field, down from a 43 percent shooting average on the season. That was due in part by taking some questionable shots when the team started slipping behind late in the first half. Coach Kyle Green thought that they need to maintain taking solid shots from the floor.

“We had good shots for the most part in the first half, shots we normally make, but then when we got down, we kind of rushed and hurried a little bit and took some shots that were a bit uncharacteristic for us down the stretch,” Green said.

Junior Jordan Petersen led the way once again for Eau Claire, scoring 18 points in 33 minutes of playing time. Petersen was the only player who scored in double digits, and the bench production that was seen in their previous game against UW-Superior faded away. Eau Claire’s bench was outscored 21-11 in Saturday’s game.

The Blugolds pulled within nine points of Whitewater with just less than 12 minutes left in the game after junior Dustin Kalien’s three-pointer, but the surge quickly faded from the team. Whitewater ended the game on an 18-9 run to close out the Blugolds and improve to 18-2 on the season, and 9-2 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

With the loss, the Eau Claire men’s team falls to 13-7 overall with a 5-6 record in WIAC play. The team is now tied for fifth place in the conference with five regular season games to go before the the WIAC tournament begins on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Junior forward Zac Womeldorf is already looking forward to Wednesday’s game at UW-Oshkosh where the Blugolds will take on the 4-15 Titans who have not won a conference game yet this season.

“On the road and against Oshkosh, we need to work on playing through adversity on the floor,” Womeldorf said. “When we get down on the road, we don’t get back up. We need to stay positive and get back up.”

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