The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Men’s hoops defeat Lions for second time

    Kathlyn Hotynski

    Riding a three-game winning streak on Dec. 16, the UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team earned a 33-point win at non-conference opponent Finlandia University (Mich.), it’s largest margin of vitory of the season.

    The second time around, at Zorn Arena, Finlandia wasn’t so easy for Eau Claire to put away, with the Golds winning 75-69.

    “Any time you play a team twice, they’re the most dangerous team,” coach Terry Gibbons said. “It doesn’t make a difference where you’re playing them, home or away, especially if they have any pride and I’ve got to hand it to Finlandia, they’ve got a lot of pride.”

    Eau Claire held a 10 to 15-point lead for most of the game, but could never quite put the Lions away. Finlandia went on a 7-0 run with just under four minutes to play to cut the Blugolds’ lead to 71-67.

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    Junior Jared Bardon shot 4-4 from the free- throw line in the final minute to help the Blugolds hold off Finlandia Saturday night, improving their record to 10-11 overall.

    “They’re a good basketball team; they’re very athletic,” Gibbons said. “They can get up, they can dunk, they can play and it’s a good win for us.”

    Five players scored in double figures for Eau Claire, four of whom were starters.

    “We’ve got guys who can come in and contribute,” Gibbons said, “but we need guys who can come in and make plays and help us out and give us some scoring opportunities from off the bench.”

    Freshman transfer Geoff Probst was the only bench player to score in double figures, finishing with 14 points.

    Junior Matt Riley also scored 14 points, shooting 6-10 from the field.

    “They had some little guards and we just worked our mismatches and I got the ball inside and finished,” Riley said.

    Bardon and juniors Dan Beyer and Zack Ryan scored 13 points each for the ‘Golds.

    Gibbons said Finlandia broke the Blugolds’ press Wednesday night, something the Lions were unable to do in the Dec. 16 game.

    “Last time we created more turnovers with our press and we had a more up-tempo game,” Riley said.

    The Blugolds return to WIAC action Wednesday night with a 3-9 record in conference. They travel to UW-River Falls, a team they beat earlier this season by one point. Gibbons and his players said the game is very important.

    “It’s going to be huge,” Probst said. “We really need to get a win in conference so that we can move up and be in position to make a run in the conference tournament at the end of the season.”

    Gibbons echoed Probst, saying the River Falls game is an important one for the post-season.

    “It’s nice to get out and play somebody different,” he said, “but Wednesday night we’ve got to come back and play.”

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    Men’s hoops defeat Lions for second time