EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - While the UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team led by 11 at one point facing UW-Stout at Zorn Arena tonight, the Blugolds could not hold on and fell 88-87.
Nick Craggs (So.-Kimberly, Wis./Kimberly/UW-Whitewater) opened the game with a three-pointer to give the Blugolds the initial lead and while Stout led a few times in the first half, Eau Claire was able to steadily increase its lead late in the half. The Blugolds were able to build an 11-point lead with less than four minutes to go but were up by just two going into halftime.
In the second half, the Blugolds found themselves with a lead for the majority of the first 12 minutes. But Stout came on strong in the end and took a two-point lead at 6:45. While Eau Claire was able to tie it up once more, the eighth tie of the game, Stout then went on a 7-2 run to get up by five with less than 10 seconds to play.
Marcus Ruh (So.-Green Bay , Wis./Bay Port) scored a crucial three-pointer to get the Blugolds back within two but with less than five seconds to play, they were forced to commit a foul and send the Blue Devils to the free throw line. Stout's Steve Pax hit two in a row to give the Blue Devils a four-point lead. Amadou Fofana (Sr.-Appleton, Wis./West) hit a three-pointer at the buzzer but the Blugolds came up short by one.
The Blugolds outshot the Blue Devils 48.4 percent (30-for-62) to 43.7 percent (31-for-71). The teams were nearly equal in a majority of categories tonight, but Stout held a 15-7 advantage in points off turnovers and a 20-14 advantage in second-chance points.
Fofana led the game with 25 points as he went 10-for-14 from the free throw line and 7-for-10 from the field. He and Craggs held the Blugolds with seven rebounds each while Ruh had a team-high six assists to go along with six rebounds. Ivan Franklin (Sr.-Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater/UM-Duluth) and Ruh each finished with double-digit point totals, scoring 16 and 14, respectively.
The Blugolds will head to UW-Platteville for their next game this Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. The Blugold women will also face the Pioneers that night in Platteville at 7 p.m. as part of a doubleheader.