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

    Blugold men notch big victory over La Crosse

    In a game with significant conference-standing implications, the UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team scored a big 72-51 win over the UW-La Crosse Eagles Saturday evening in La Crosse.

    Though Coach Terry Gibbons said La Crosse is a tough place to play, the Blugolds were well-prepared.

    “The kids were ready to play from the beginning,” Gibbons said.

    And it showed. The Eagles struck first with a three pointer, but Eau Claire answered with a layup 14 seconds later. After the teams repeatedly swapped the lead early in the game, the Blugolds showed their power and by halftime had a 20-point lead.

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    During the second period, the Blugolds continued to dominate, building their lead to as much as 29 points late in the half.

    Senior Geoff Probst said part of the Blugolds’ success came from their rebounding.

    “The big thing is that we’re playing really well right now,” he said. “If we gave up a shot, we gave up only one. We didn’t allow a second opportunity.”

    Probst led the Blugolds in both scoring and rebounds, with 14 points and seven rebounds. Junior Amadou Fofana also racked up 12 points, while sophomore Josh Prince totaled 10 points for the team.

    Gibbons said the Blugold team played well on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, adding the team spread the ball out on offense and didn’t play selfishly.

    While the team lost to UW-La Crosse earlier in the season, Gibbons said the young Blugolds had the advantage Saturday. They may have caught the Eagles “flat-footed,” but the Blugolds’ ability to adapt was a key factor in the victory, he said.

    “We’ve made important improvements as the season goes on,” Gibbons said. “We’re always changing things.”

    Both Gibbons and Probst said it would be key for the Blugolds to continue working on improving – especially on defense – to keep the momentum going over the next few weeks.

    “We need to keep working on the defensive end, play consistently,” Probst said. “We need to play good defense every single time we’re on the floor.”

    The win improved the Blugolds’ record to 11-6 overall and 4-5 in the conference. After Sunday’s game, they sat fourth in the WIAC standings.

    Probst said a loss would have caused the Blugolds to lose precious ground in the battle of the standings.

    “There are a lot of teams grouped in the middle (of the standings),” he said. “We’re in a position to hopefully make a run towards the end of the season.”

    Gibbons said there was “no question” the game against the Eagles was an important one for the conference standings.

    “We had our backs against the wall,” Gibbons said. “This put us back in the race.”

    The Blugolds next hit the road Saturday to play Finlandia University (Mich.). They also played UW-Oshkosh last Wednesday night at home, losing with a score of 61-74.

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    Blugold men notch big victory over La Crosse