By Alex Richert, UWEC Sports Information
After a last second three-point conversion by Warhawk Andre Brown to end the first half, the Blugolds trailed 48-38. The Warhawks converted 60 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from deep, allowing them to take a 10 point lead at half. Although Eau Claire's conversion rates didn't match Whitewater's, the Blugolds managed to out-rebound the Warhawks while also adding three steals.
Eau Claire jumped out of the gate to start the second half going on a 19-6 run and taking the lead 57-54. After the run, the contest saw a lead change nine different times, but a late three-pointer by Cam Kuepers (So. – Madison, WI/Lakeside Lutheran) put the Blugolds up by four with 16.6 seconds and sealed their victory. The Blugold's defense nearly split the Warhawks shooting percentage half during the second half compared to the first while preventing all but one three-point conversion.
Ben Widdes (Sr. – Rice Lake, WI) recorded a career-high 26 points for the Blugolds while Cole Rabedeaux (Jr. – Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap) added 19. Widdes and Blake Wacholz (Jr. – Lakeville, MN/South) displayed defensive dominance for Eau Claire by adding two steals apiece during the game. Wilyam Wright (Sr. – Bollingbrook, IL/Plainfield East) also led the team with eight rebounds.
The Blugolds finished the game shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from behind the arc. Their defense improved as the game went on, but the Warhawks still managed a respectable 46.4 percent from the floor.
Eau Claire (11-9, 4-5 WIAC) will look to continue their momentum at home on Monday, February 4 against UW-Platteville (13-7, 6-3 WIAC). Follow the action on Blugold Game Day or on the 'UWEC Blugolds' app on your mobile device.