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Blugolds Lose Overtime Heartbreaker In WIAC Playoffs
Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2005
OSHKOSH - The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team gave UW-Oshkosh all it could handle in the first round of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, but in the end it was the third-seeded Titans earning a 77-72 overtime victory over the sixth-seeded Blugolds here tonight at the Kolf Sports Center.
Oshkosh will move onto the second round of the WIAC Tournament to battle second-seeded UW-Stevens Point, who earned an 88-68 victory over seventh-seeded UW-Superior tonight in Stevens Point. The Blugolds finish the season with an overall record of 13-13 while the Titans advance in the tournament with a record of 19-7. Eau Claire has now dropped 11 straight contests in Oshkosh against the Titans, dating all the way back to 1995.
Neither team played particularly well in the first half, with the Blugolds shooting just 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) from the floor and the Titans hitting 10-of-29 (34.5 percent). Despite the poor shooting from the floor, Eau Claire converted on 10-of-12 from the free-throw line while Oshkosh sank its only four attempts in the first half.
The Titans jumped out to leads of 9-3 and 11-5 early in the game as the Blugolds never led in the first half. Oshkosh's biggest lead was 17-10 but a pair of Colin Walsh (So.-La Crosse/Aquinas) free-throws with 2:24 remaining in the first half cut the lead to just two points at 21-19. The Titans outscored the Blugolds 4-2 in the remaining time for a 25-21 lead heading into halftime.
The story of the first half was Eau Claire's ability to shut down Oshkosh threats Jim Capelle and Kerry Gibson. Capelle, who led the team in scoring during the regular season, was held scoreless in the first half while Gibson was limited to just six points on four shots from the field.
The second half saw a variety of tremendous shifts in momentum that resulted in a tie score at the buzzer. After a Gibson dunk started the half and gave the Titans a 27-21 lead, the Blugolds battled back with a 15-4 run to take a five-point lead and their first lead of the game. Will Jefferson (Sr.-Wausau/East) and Dan Archambault (Sr.-Oshkosh/West) drained back-to-back three-point shots to give Eau Claire a 36-31 lead. After the Titans bounced back to tie the game at 36, the Blugolds scored 10 unanswered points, topped off by a three-point play by Jefferson, to take a 46-36 lead with 12:33 remaining in regulation.
As the story had gone all night long, the Titans battled back. With Eau Claire leading 51-43 with 8:27 left to play, the Titans scored seven unanswered to pull within a point. The Blugolds extended the lead to five behind a three-pointer from Walsh but Oshkosh scored the next five points to tie the game at 55. James Poehls (Fr.-Green Bay/Southwest) hit a pair of free-throws with 1:27 remaining for a Blugold lead but Andy Jahnke converted on a jumper to tie the game with 35 seconds remaining. Eau Claire was the benefactor of some good luck as Capelle missed a pair of free-throws with 19 seconds left and the game headed to overtime gridlocked at 57.
Gibson kicked off the extra period with a lay-up seven seconds in but Archambault responded with a jumper to tie the game. The teams battled back and forth and with 59 seconds left in the first overtime the score remained knotted at 70. Andy Fernholz dealt a devastating blow to the Blugolds with just 39 seconds remaining, draining a three-points shot for a 73-70 Oshkosh lead. A Jefferson three-pointer was tipped but Casey Drake (Sr.-Rhinelander) grabbed the loose ball and converted on the following shot to put Eau Claire down 73-72 with 15 seconds remaining. Fernholz was fouled on the ensuing possession and converted on both free-throw attempts. A three-point try by Archambault was off the mark and a pair of Gibson free-throws finished the scoring at 77-72.
Gibson finished with a career-high 26 points, 12 of them coming in the extra period. Jahnke added 19 in the win. Drake led the Blugolds with 19 points while Jefferson and Archambault each tallied 18 points. Walsh finished with 10 points in the loss.