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Men's Basketball Falls for First Time This Season
By: Kevin Meinholz, Sports Information Director
OSHKOSH, Wis. (UWECBlugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team dropped its first game of the season, falling just short to St. John's University (Minn.) 68-66 at the UW-Oshkosh Classic at Kolf Sports Center tonight.
The Blugolds (3-1) controlled the end of the first half and the beginning of the second in a game where the lead changed hands five times and was tied nine other times.
After the Blugolds took the first lead of the game, the teams battled back and forth for the first part of the opening half. After the Johnnies took a four-point lead at 9:10 in the first, the Blugolds went on a 13-0 run over the next five minutes to take a nine-point lead. St. John's closed the gap to just three before the Blugolds took a six-point lead into the locker room.
Eau Claire came out strong in the second half and reached its largest lead of the game (15 points) at 16:30. After Eau Claire was up by 11 at 11:12, the Johnnies used an 11-0 run to tie the game back up at 51 apiece with seven minutes to go. Two minutes later, the Johnnies found themselves up. The Blugolds went ahead just once more the rest of the way, a one-point lead with 12 seconds to go, but the Johnnies hit two more shots, including a layup with four seconds to go, to win the game.
Despite the Blugolds turning the ball over just seven times to the Johnnies' 14, Eau Claire finished with just 11 points off the turnovers while St. John's scored 13. St. John's won the rebounding edge, 41-26, and shot better than Eau Claire, 44.2 percent (23-for-52) to 41.8 percent (23-for-55).
Eau Claire was led by Geoff Probst (Sr.-Moose Lake, Minn.), who finished with 19 points and a game-high three steals. Josh Prince (So.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chi-Hi) added 13 points, while Colin Boone (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) finished with six rebounds to lead Eau Claire.
The Blugolds will now face the University of Puget Sound (Wash.) tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Oshkosh Classic. Puget Sound defeated UW-Oshkosh tonight 90-87.