Mens basketball slides

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Story by Steve Fruehauf, Copy Editor

 

Problems with offensive proficiency and fouling led to a 79-65 loss for the UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team Saturday against UW-Whitewater at Kachel Gym. With the win, athethird-ranked Warhawks team claimed their seventh straight win. They are
currently undefeated on the season.

Eau Claire struggled in the game
rebounding the ball. In the first half, the Warhawks recorded 10 more boards than the Blugolds. They finished with 44 compared to Eau Claire’s 26 on the night. Of those additional 18 rebounds, Whitewater was able to put up 31 more points in second-chance opportunities.

Eau Claire Head Coach Matt Siverling credited Whitewater’s aggressiveness as a reason they performed so well.

“They obviously outrebounded us on the offensive end,” Siverling said. “They are a very athletic basketball team, they are a very aggressive
basketball team. I think they got some second-chance opportunities and that’s really what hurt us.”

The Blugolds’ bench struggled as well, only contributing four points
total in the game.

Forward Stephen Hodgson Jr. scored the two bench points in the first half and fellow forward Derek Baker scored the other two in the final
20 minutes.

Whitewater, on the other hand, found success from their non-starters. On the night, their bench contributed an additional 35 points. But Blugold starting guard Lewis Mau said the team as a whole should be accountable for the poor production.

“I don’t know if it was just the bench that struggled,” Mau said. “We struggled more as a team on making the extra pass and trying to hit our open shots. We really struggled shooting from the field.”

Fouling was another issue for Eau Claire. Whitewater sunk 29 of their 38 free throws attempted.

The Blugold starters contributed 16 fouls, four more than the Warhawks. Eau Claire’s bench players also added an additional 13 fouls to Whitewater’s two.

Eau Claire forward Zac Womeldorf said he thinks the fouls were a result of his team’s dissatisfaction at times.

“I think we were just getting a little physical,” Womeldorf said. “We had a lot of turnovers so we were getting a little bit frustrated. That sometimes leads to fouls and we get overaggressive.”

Even with the loss, Siverling found some positives from his team’s play. He said the Blugolds’ defensive play was good throughout and he said he was impressed that his team stuck around with a nationally ranked team until the end of the game.

Eau Claire’s guard Jordan
Petersen led the team with 17 points and four rebounds. Mau and forward Dustin Kalien were close behind
contributing 15 and 11 points respectively. As for Whitewater, bench player KJ Evans led the team with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Starters Cody Odegaard and Eric Bryson finished with 14 and 11 points apiece.

The team hosted the Yellowjackets of UW-Superior Wednesday night at Zorn Arena. The Blugolds lost the game 75-53. The loss dropped Eau Claire to 0-4 in conference play, tied for last, and 4-6 on the season.