UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team loses at the buzzer

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Luke Alex

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The Blugold's last-second shot attempt fell short, resulting in a 79-77 St. Scholastica win

Wilyam+Wright%2C+a+fourth-year%2C+takes+a+shot+during+a+home+game+at+Zorn+Arena.+This+photo+is+from+a+previous+game+and+was+published+on+Blugolds.com.+
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UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team loses at the buzzer

Wilyam Wright, a fourth-year, takes a shot during a home game at Zorn Arena. This photo is from a previous game and was published on Blugolds.com.

Wilyam Wright, a fourth-year, takes a shot during a home game at Zorn Arena. This photo is from a previous game and was published on Blugolds.com.

Photo by Bill Hoepner

Wilyam Wright, a fourth-year, takes a shot during a home game at Zorn Arena. This photo is from a previous game and was published on Blugolds.com.

Photo by Bill Hoepner

Photo by Bill Hoepner

Wilyam Wright, a fourth-year, takes a shot during a home game at Zorn Arena. This photo is from a previous game and was published on Blugolds.com.

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For the second consecutive year, the UW-Eau Claire and St. Scholastica men’s basketball matchup went down to the wire. In 2017, George Diekelman, now an alumnus of the program, made a game-winning shot to give the Blugolds a 75-74 win over the Saints.

Last Saturday, however, the Blugolds were not as fortunate. Ben Widdes, a fourth-year, shot a deep three pointer in an attempt to win the game. It bounced off the rim at the buzzer. The scoreboard read 79-77, a St. Scholastica victory.

“It looked so close,” Cole Rabedeaux, a third-year, said. “ I thought it was going to go in for a second.”

Rabedeaux stayed consistent with his season averages on Saturday, scoring a team-high 15 points. He said he attributed his successful scoring output to his aggressive play style.

“I try to drive and get to the rim as much as I can,” Rabedeaux said. “I like to play aggressive because it opens up more opportunities for my team.”

On multiple occasions throughout the game, the Saints led by nine points and looked as if they might pull away. Every time it seemed that they would pull away, the Blugolds closed the gap by refusing to panic and continuing their regular style of play, Head Coach Matt Siverling said.

“We try to just play basketball,” Siverling said. “We try not to focus on the score of the game.”

With 54 seconds left in regulation, the Blugolds found themselves down only two points after a successful mid-range jumpshot by Widdes, who finished the game with 13 points and three rebounds. UW-Eau Claire got a quick defensive stop and regained possession with less than 30 seconds remaining.

After a missed fade-away shot by Rabedeaux and a offensive rebound by Steve Christianson, a fourth-year, Siverling drew up play out of a timeout with seven seconds left in the game.

“Scholastica did a good job of taking away our first option, taking away our second option,” Siverling said.

Because the Saints defended the drawn-up play so well, Widdes was forced to take a contested 3-point attempt at the buzzer to try to win the game. The ball clanked off the rim as the final horn sounded.

“I would have liked to get a better shot than that,” Siverling said. “Sometimes the basketball gods look down on you and and they say ‘not today.’”

The UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team’s overall record is 4-2. The team will play Carleton College at 7 p.m. next Monday in Zorn Arena.

Luke Alex can be reached at [email protected].

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