EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (blugolds.com)- The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's basketball defeated Wartburg (Iowa) at home Tuesday night, 79-70.
Spencer Page (So.-Rice Lake, WI) began the scoring for Eau Claire, hitting a three off an assist from Cam Kuepers (Jr.-Madison, WI/Lakeside Lutheran). The Blugolds would continue to build the lead off a 9-0 run to begin the action. That lead would expand to 19 at one point, but the score entering half was 43-32.
Cole Rabedeaux (Sr.-Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap) led all scorers with 18 points at the break, while also adding five rebounds. Page also contributed seven points, while Kuepers supplied six.
A layup from Blake Wacholz (Sr.-Lakeville, MN/South) kicked off the second half, although the Knights tightened things up. In fact, a pair of free throws put Wartburg up 55-54 with ten minutes left in the game. Kuepers responded with two layups to put Eau Claire back in control, and the action would remain back-and-forth until another big play from Rabedeaux, hitting a three to establish a five-point lead.
Late free throws from Kuepers and Luke Reader (Fr.-Bangor, WI) sealed the eventual victory for the Blugolds. Eau Claire finished the night shooting 54 percent from the field, despite going just 5-17 from beyond the three-point stripe.
Rabedeaux, who won Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Kwik Trip Player of the Week, continues to be the star for the Blugolds. He completed the game with 30 points in total, shooting 12 for 18 from the field. Kuepers was second on the team with 16 points, while Wacholz played an important role on defense, recording three steals.
The win moves Eau Claire to 5-1 on the 2019 season. They'll travel to the West Coast this weekend to square off against Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound, which will both take place in Tacoma, Washington. The action against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday will tip off at 5 PM.