Men's Basketball Struggles in Loss to UW-River Falls
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – While the UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team found its way to a few leads early, UW-River Falls controlled most of the game as the Blugolds fell 63-41 at Zorn Arena tonight.
The Blugolds took the first lead of the game when Nick Craggs (Jr.-Kimberly, Wis.) hit a jumper, and the teams went back and forth until the Falcons took a 15-14 lead almost 12 minutes into the half.
From there, River Falls outscored Eau Claire 15-7 over the final eight minutes of the half to take a seven-point lead into halftime (28-21).
In the second half, while the Blugolds cut the Falcons' lead to five right away with two Nick Bartlett (Jr.-Arden Hills, Minn./Mounds View) free throws, the Falcons pushed their lead to double-digits a minute later and the closest the Blugolds could get the rest of the way was eight points.
During a six-minute stretch that lasted until almost the seven-minute mark, the Falcons held the Blugolds scoreless. With the 14-0 run, River Falls built a 24-point lead (54-30).
Over the final seven minutes, the Blugolds managed to outscore the Falcons 11-9 but River Falls went on to win by 22 points.
Three Blugolds made it to double-figures in scoring and combined for 31 of the team's 41 points. Bartlett led the Blugolds with 11 points while Craggs and James Pfitzinger (Sr.-West St. Paul, Minn./Academy of Holy Angels) finished with 10. Pfitzinger completed the double-double as he pulled down 11 rebounds.
The Blugolds had trouble shooting tonight, finishing just 27.3 percent from the field (15-for-55), including 4-for-19 (21.2 percent) from beyond the arc. The Blugolds' leading scorer this season, Jordan Petersen (Jr.-Strum, Wis./Eleva-Strum), scored just one point from the free throw line as he went 0-for-10 from the floor.
Eau Claire drops to 14-8 overall and 6-7 in the WIAC while River Falls improves to 16-5 on the season and 10-2 in conference play.
At halftime of tonight's game, the formal naming of Zorn Arena's court was held, honoring long-time Blugold men's basketball coach Ken Anderson.
The Blugolds will have a week off with their next game scheduled for Feb. 11 at UW-Stout.