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Men's Basketball Picks up First WIAC Win
By: Kevin Meinholz, Sports Information Director
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (UWECBlugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team won its first Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) contest of the season, defeating UW-River Falls 74-68 at Zorn Arena tonight.
The Blugolds improve to 5-3 overall and 1-2 in WIAC play while the Falcons drop to 2-6 on the season and 0-3 in the conference.
Despite River Falls outshooting Eau Claire 47.4 percent (27-for-57) to 42.9 percent (24-for-56) and outrebounding the Blugolds 35-30, the Blugolds were able to capitalize off turnovers and with free throws. Eau Claire finished 19-for-24 from the free throw line while River Falls was 8-for-10. The Falcons committed 15 turnovers and the Blugolds scored 20 points off the miscues while Eau Claire had nine turnovers and the Falcons came up with 11 points.
Eau Claire went up right away and while River Falls took a lead after scoring the next three points, the Blugolds would never let the Falcons have another lead the rest of the way. Following the Falcons' only lead, the Blugolds went on a 15-2 run to take their largest lead of the game (12 points).
River Falls tied the game up with 5:13 left in the first but the Blugolds were able to go up by seven at the end of the half.
The Blugolds did just enough in the second to stay ahead of the Falcons, who closed the gap to just two points five times in the period. The last time Eau Claire's lead was two was with 2:26 remaining in the game. Eau Claire outscored the Falcons 6-2 over the final two minutes to win by six.
Four Blugolds reached double-figures in scoring, led by Colin Boone (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) with 18. Geoff Probst (Sr.-Moose Lake, Minn.) added 13 and led the Blugolds with six rebounds, while Josh Prince (So.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chi-Hi) scored 12 points and Nick Bartlett (So.-Arden Hills, Minn./Mounds View) contributed 10. Boone also had a game-high five assists and tied for a game-high with two steals.
The Blugolds will be at home again this weekend as part of a doubleheader against UW-Stout. The men's game will tip off following the women's game which is slated to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at Zorn Arena.