Blugolds fall short at WIAC Championships, Men get into NCAA Tournament

Mens and Womens Basketball fall to the Titans, Men recieve at large bid to NCAA

In+the+fourth+quarter+for+the+womens+team%2C+the+Titans+scored+the+first+six+points.+Halfway+through+this+quarter%2C+the+Blugolds+cut+the+lead+back+down+to+one.

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In the fourth quarter for the womens team, the Titans scored the first six points. Halfway through this quarter, the Blugolds cut the lead back down to one.

Both the womens and mens basketball teams lost to UW-Oshkosh in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a final score of 52-50 and 78-72, respectively. 

Women 

In the beginning of the game, UW-Oshkosh led the game on a 7-0 run. However, UW-Eau Claire fought back and brought the score to 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.

Hallee Hoeppner, a fourth-year, scored two baskets — while Kelsey Bakken, a fourth-year, scored a three-pointer.

Oshkosh maintained the two-point lead into halftime with a score of 24-22.

In the third quarter, both teams hit 50 percent of their field goals — any shot that is not a free throw — with Eau Claire going 8-16 and Oshkosh going 6-12. 

The Blugolds were down 40-37 with under a minute remaining in the quarter, however, Hoeppner scored a free throw and a lay up, which sent both teams tied into the fourth quarter. 

Anna Graaskamp, a fourth-year, scored eight points, making her the top scorer in the third quarter. 

In the fourth quarter, the Titans scored the first six points. Halfway through this quarter, the Blugolds cut the lead back down to one.

Oshkosh was up 52-48 with a minute left of the quarter, but Hoeppner made a steal and layup, getting them up to 52-50. 

Three fourth-year students were the top scorers for Eau Claire. Graaskamp scored 14 points, Hoeppner scored 13 points and Bakken scored 10 points. 

UW-Eau Claire will wait to see if they can get an at-large bid to the Division III NCAA Tournament. 

The selection show will be on Monday, March 16. The Blugolds currently sit at 18-10 overall.

Men 

In the beginning of the game, UW-Eau Claire had an 8-2 lead, however, UW-Oshkosh came back with a 10-0 run. 

Oshkosh then took their biggest lead of the game at the 6:58 mark with a score of 25-14, but Eau Claire was able to bring the score up to 34-31.

In the second half, UW-Oshkosh maintained their lead, but Blake Wacholz, a fourth-year, scored a layup which tied the score at 42 with a little under 16 minutes to go. 

Spencer Page, a second-year and Carter Brooks, a third-year, scored a three-pointer and a jumper, respectively, giving the Blugolds a 47-42 advantage. The Titans regained the lead with 12 minutes left. 

The top scorers were Page, who scored 17 points and 50 percent of his field shots, Cam Kuepers, a third-year, with 16 points, Cole Rabedeaux, a fourth-year, with 15 points and Wacholz with 11 points.

The men’s basketball team earned an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament for the first time in 19 years. 

They will play against Whitman College in Collegeville, Minn. on Friday, Mar. 6.

Walcholz said he was not expecting to get into the tournament. They found out about the bid when they were sitting in their coach’s office. 

“We went crazy,” Walcholz said “When we heard the news, it was special and we just went crazy.” 

Walcholz described his team as the underdogs, saying they will play hot and have nothing to lose. 

Rabedeaux said he felt the biggest relief in his life in response to earning the bid. 

“Blugold basketball has a little bit of ups and downs,” Rabedeaux said “I wouldn’t want to play for anybody else.”

Matt Siverling, head coach of the men’s basketball team, said having the team get into the NCAA tournament was an exciting moment for everyone involved. 

“This is something that you dream of for your players,” Siverling said. “To have this group get the opportunity to do this is something that’s really special and I’m just happy for them.”

Armagost can be reached at [email protected].