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Men's Basketball Season Ends With Loss To No.1 Stevens Point
Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2007
STEVENS POINT - The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team saw its season come to an end tonight after being eliminated from the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Basketball Tournament by top-seeded and top-ranked UW-Stevens Point by a final score of 89-55 at Quandt Fieldhouse.
This was just the second meeting between the two schools in the conference tournament. The only other meeting took place in 2000 when Stevens Point defeated the Blugolds in the championship game 59-56 in overtime.
Eau Claire ends with a 10-16 overall record and will not reach the semifinals for the fourth straight year. Eau Claire was on the losing end of a couple of close games near the end of the season as four of their last seven losses were by three points or less.
The Blugolds hung with the top-ranked Pointers early even though Stevens Point jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Eau Claire scored the next seven points to take a 7-6 lead after a Jared Bardon (Jr.-DeForest, WI) three-point play. The only other lead the Blugolds had against the Pointers all season was after Eau Claire scored the opening points of the game in the second meeting at Stevens Point.
The Blugolds then had a 20-19 lead with 7:12 left to play in the first half after a Matt Riley (Sr.-Cadott, WI) jumper. However, that would be the last time Eau Claire led in the contest. The Pointers went on a 9-0 run to take a 28-20 lead. Stevens Point took a 36-26 advantage into the locker room.
The Pointers shot 47% in the first half, while the Blugolds shot 42%. Stevens Point out-scored Eau Claire in the paint 20-0 and had eight assists compared to the Blugolds' one. The Eau Claire out-scored the Stevens Point bench 9-2 in the half.
The Blugolds cut the Point lead down to five just over two minutes in to the second half. The Pointers then started getting hot as they would make their next five shots as part of an 11-0 run to extend their lead back to 16. Stevens Point actually hit 18 of their first 24 shots in the second half.
The Pointers kept on building the margin with the final score being their largest lead of the ball game 89-55. The 34-point win is the third biggest margin of victory in conference tournament history. The Pointers had 16 points off of 10 Eau Claire turnovers in the second half. Stevens Point shot an impressive 68% in the second half to finish at 57% for the game. Stevens Point made 36 field goals, one shy of a WIAC Tournament record, which is held by La Crosse when they made 37 field goals against UW-Whitewater in 2000. The Blugolds shot 46% in the second half to finish at 44% for the game. The Pointers out-scored the Blugolds in the paint 42-10.
Dan Beyer (Jr.-Waukesha, WI/Catholic Memorial) led the Blugolds with 18 points, 16 of which came in the second half. Beyer also led Eau Claire with seven rebounds. Jared Supalla (Sr.-Eden Prairie, MN) playing in his final game as a Blugold finished with a career-high 10 points off of the bench. Jon Krull had a game-high 23 points for Stevens Point, while Steve Hicklin pitched in 17 points.
The Pointers advance to the WIAC semifinals for the sixth straight year and along with UW-Oshkosh improve to a conference-best 8-1 record in the quarterfinals. The two previous times Stevens Point was the No. 1 seed it won the tournament championship in 2000 and 2003. The Pointers have an overall record of 23-2 and will host fourth-seeded UW-Whitewater at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
- JR -