Blugolds suffer their first loss of the season against Wartburg College

Eau Claire hopes to recharge their batteries over winter break and get ready for their upcoming tournament in Las Vegas

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Blugolds suffer their first loss of the season against Wartburg College

Blugold men’s basketball player Josh Weix, takes a breather at half-time.

Blugold men’s basketball player Josh Weix, takes a breather at half-time.

Photo by Kelsey Smith

Blugold men’s basketball player Josh Weix, takes a breather at half-time.

Photo by Kelsey Smith

Photo by Kelsey Smith

Blugold men’s basketball player Josh Weix, takes a breather at half-time.

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The UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team lost their first game of the season, subsequent by a 103-90 loss Sunday afternoon against Wartburg College (Iowa). This puts the Blugolds season record at 8-1, and they have yet to play a game within the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC).

The Blugolds put the stress on Wartburg throughout the game. The Blugolds’ lead endorsed them to take a nine-point lead going into the locker room at the half.

Eau Claire shot 60 percent from the field and 46 percent from beyond the arc. The Blugold defense held Wartburg to 38.5 percent from the field, but the Knights matched the Blugolds from behind the arc and converted 10 of 12 from the charity stripe.

George Diekelman lead the way for Eau Claire in the first half with a solid output of 12 points. Although, it was an altered story in the second half of the game.

The Knights shot 73 percent from the field in the second half of play. After a valiant comeback effort from Eau Claire, the Knights walked away with a 103-90 victory, ending the Blugolds eight game winning streak.

Diekelman said Wartburg tried to spread them out during the game and drove the ball. He said the Blugolds got into a bit of foul trouble, which did not help the team on the defensive end of the ball.

The win marked the Knights second victory of the season after defeating UW-Oshkosh and continues their perfect record on their home floor. After the loss, Diekelman pointed out some of the weaknesses the Blugolds should to work on.

“We need to get better on the defensive end of the floor,” Diekelman said. “We will learn for this loss and move on from it.”

Eau Claire was unable to dominate the boards, ultimately getting outrebounded 28 to 27. Eau Claire also struggled to overcome their 14 team turnovers compared to just six from Wartburg. The Knights took advantage of the Blugold miscues, recording 25 points off of those 14 turnovers.

The Knights big advantage came from their bench as they contributed 44 points. This also marks the first time this season that Eau Claire has allowed over 100 points.

Sophomore forward, Gianni Rossato, said the team’s second half struggles came from purely running out of energy after a high paced first half.

“We were up at half time but it looked like we just ran out of steam,” Rossato said. “They hit a couple of key shots towards the end of the game and we had a couple of turnovers too at the end which really hurt. It is hard to beat a team that scores 103 points.”

Eau Claire was led by Diekelman who finished with 23 points and added four rebounds and three assists. Jack Martinek contributed another strong game, adding 18 points. Also, scoring in double figures was Chris Duff with 17 and Josh Weix with 11. Jared Schneidermann led the Blugolds on the glass, pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds.

Diekelman has high hopes for the team. He said the Blugolds have a couple weeks to clean some things up during practice before break.

“We get to recharge a little bit and get ready for our tournament in Las Vegas,” Diekelman said. “We have a lot of time to get better before conference.”

The Blugolds will be off until Dec. 28, where both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will travel to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Classic. The men’s next matchup will be against Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.) with tipoff set for 8:00 p.m.

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