By Kyle Naber, UWEC Sports Information
STORM LAKE, Iowa (Blugolds.com)- The No. 10 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's basketball team earned their eighth straight win Saturday afternoon following a hard fought 63-60 victory over Buena Vista University (Iowa) at Siebens Fieldhouse.
Eau Claire jumped out to a quick lead by the leadership of last year's leading scorer, Jack Martinek (Sr. New Brighton, MN/Irondale). The senior opened the game with two quick three-pointers and a layup at the 10:56 mark in the first half to give Eau Claire an early nine-point advantage.
Just as quickly as Eau Claire built the lead, the Beavers chipped right away at it. Both teams would trade baskets and at the 2:30 mark and Buena Vista would tie the came at 27 following a Connor Winkleman layup. From there both teams would grind it out until the buzzer's sound, tied at 29.
In the second half, Eau Claire jumped out to a quick lead sparked by two jumpers from beyond the arc by Jared Schneidermann (Sr.- Brooklyn Park, MN/Concordia Academy) as they opened the half on a 14-2 run.
Eau Claire would fight off the first run from the Beavers, but it was the second run from Buena Vista that would trim the lead to just two points with just over 10 minutes left to play. Eau Claire's response was another much-needed run headed by Martinek.
But the Beavers were able to tie the game at 60 with a just over a minute and a half to play. Great defense and clutch free throw shooting gave the Blugolds just enough to escape with a hard fought 63-60 road victory.
Leading the way for Eau Claire was Schneidermann with 18 points and eight rebounds while Josh Weix (So. – Eau Claire, WI/North) finished with his second straight double-double after scoring 14 points and adding 10 rebounds. Martinek also was in double digits for the Blugolds, scoring 17 points and added eight rebounds.
The victory was Eau Claire's first over Buena Vista since 2009 and gives Eau Claire the advantage all-time with a 5-2 record.
Neither team shot particularly well in this game, as both teams were under 40 percent. However, free throws were the difference as Eau Claire shot 81.8 percent (18-22 FTs) while Buena Vista shot just 50 percent (9-18 FTs).
The Blugolds will continue their tour of Iowa tomorrow afternoon with a Sunday afternoon matchup against Wartburg College. Eau Claire has had success against the Knights in recent seasons; winning three of the last five matchups include a win last season, 73-58. Wartburg is off to a great start to their season as well with a 7-1 record and are undefeated at home. The Knights also defeated the only ranked opponent they faced this season when they defeated then-No. 21 UW-Oshkosh.
Follow all the action Sunday and all season long on Blugold Game Day.