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Men's Basketball Finishes 2009 on High Note
By: Kevin Meinholz, Sports Information Director
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (UWECBlugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team wrapped up 2009 with a 68-66 victory over Buena Vista University (Iowa) to win the Holiday Classic at Zorn Arena tonight.
The Blugolds, who have now won four games in a row, improve to 8-3 on the season. Buena Vista drops to 6-5. In other action tonight, Heidelberg University (Ohio) won the third place game 68-67 over Coe College (Iowa).
The Blugolds and Beavers kept the game interesting as the score was tied seven times while the lead changed 10 times. The Blugolds' largest lead of the game (eight points) came with just over 13 minutes to play in the game. With the Blugolds up 55-47 at that point, Buena Vista used a 14-2 run over the next five minutes to take a four-point lead.
Eau Claire closed out the game outscoring its opponent 11-5 to preserve the win. Buena Vista had an opportunity to tie the game up right at the end with a layup, but the ball rolled off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Buena Vista shot well from the floor as it went 25-for-51 (49 percent) while the Blugolds were 28-for-67 (41.8 percent). The Beavers also edged the Blugolds in rebounding 44-25 but committed 25 turnovers to Eau Claire's nine. The Blugolds capitalized on the turnovers with 30 points while Buena Vista scored just five.
Four Blugolds found themselves in double-figures tonight as Marcus Ruh (Fr.-Green Bay , Wis./Bay Port), who was named to the all-tournament team, led the way with 16. Amadou Fofana (Jr.-Appleton, Wis./West) added 12 while Nick Bartlett (So.-Arden Hills, Minn./Mounds View) had 11 and Geoff Probst (Sr.-Moose Lake, Minn.) recorded 10. Probst also led the game with seven rebounds.
Colin Boone (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) earned the playmaker award as he contributed 11 assists in the two-day tournament while also being name the tournament's most valuable player.
Jordan Kappen (Sr.-Blair, Wis./Blair-Taylor) was honored with the fireman award, which is selected for a player's contributions off the bench. He scored 17 points and had six rebounds as he played a total of 26 minutes at the classic.
Next up, Eau Claire will head to UW-Platteville for a game that is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. next Wednesday (Jan. 6).