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Men's Basketball Finishes Strong to Defeat Lions
By: Kevin Meinholz, Sports Information Director
HANCOCK, Mich. (UWECBlugolds.com) - For the second time this season, the UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team defeated Finlandia University (Mich.) with a 78-54 victory today.
Earlier this season Eau Claire beat the Lions 97-80 at Zorn Arena. The Blugolds are now 12-7 on the season while Finlandia is 8-10 overall.
The Blugolds started the game slow as Finlandia took an early 8-0 lead and held Eau Claire scoreless for the first two and a half minutes. Finlandia maintained the lead for more than the first 10 minutes of the contest and it was not until there was just over six minutes left to play in the first before the Blugolds took their first lead.
Finlandia was up 22-17 with almost 11 minutes left in the first but the Blugolds then used a 9-0 run over the next six minutes to take the lead. Eau Claire held Finlandia to just six points over the last 11 minutes of the half to take a 40-28 lead into halftime.
The Blugolds came out strong in the second half and allowed Finlandia to score just 26 points the rest of the way. The 26 points is the fewest the Blugolds have allowed in the second half of a game, dating back to December 10, 2006 when Eau Claire held Northland College to 26 points in the second half in a 75-47 win.
Eau Claire achieved its largest lead of the game of 26 points with less than minute to go. The closest Finlandia got in the second half was 13 points. The Blugolds' 24-point margin of victory was the second-most this season, surpassed only by their 40-point win in the season opener against St. Scholastica (Minn.).
Geoff Probst (Sr.-Moose Lake, Minn.) led the way for Eau Claire in scoring with 13 points, eight more than he managed Wednesday night against UW-Oshkosh. He now needs just 37 more points to break the 1,000-point mark for his career. Probst also led the team in rebounding with eight.
The Blugolds finished shooting 49.2 percent (30-for-61) while Finlandia was 19-for-59 (32.3 percent) from the floor. Eau Claire also edged the Lions in rebounding 41-33.
The Blugolds will be back in conference play Wednesday when they travel to River Falls to face UW-River Falls. Action is set to get underway at 7 p.m.