EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team outscored UW-Oshkosh by 22 points in the second half to defeat the Titans 66-53 in the conference opener for both teams at Zorn Arena tonight.
While the Blugolds (4-2, 1-0 WIAC) shot better than the Titans (2-3, 0-1 WIAC) from the floor in the opening half, 38.1 percent (8-for-21) to 32.1 percent (9-for-28), Oshkosh managed to maintain the lead the entire time. The Titans helped themselves by scoring 12 points from the free throw line compared to six for Eau Claire, while pulling down 24 rebounds to the Blugolds' 13.
Oshkosh led by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a nine-point lead into halftime.
But the second half was a different story and the Blugolds began chipping away the Titan's lead, closing to within two points five minutes into the half.
While Oshkosh went back up by 10 with just under 11 minutes to play, Nick Craggs (So.-Kimberly, Wis./Kimberly/UW-Whitewater) scored eight points in a row to close the gap to just two. Following an Oshkosh layup, Craggs nailed a three-pointer to get the Blugolds within one and a James Pfitzinger (Jr.-West St. Paul, Minn./Academy Of Holy Angels/St. Norbert) layup then gave the Blugolds a lead they would never give up at 7:11.
Over the final 10 minutes and 40 seconds of the game, the Blugolds outscored Oshkosh 27-4. The Titans didn't score any points in the final two minutes as Eau Claire ended the game on a 9-0 run.
Craggs led all scorers tonight with 20 points while Marcus Ruh (So.-Green Bay , Wis./Bay Port) and Amadou Fofana (Sr.-Appleton, Wis./West) each finished with 13. Pfitzinger came away with 12, going 6-for-6 from the floor. Both Craggs, who also led the Blugolds with six rebounds, and Pfitzinger's point totals were career-highs.
Oshkosh was led by Cory Wittwer with 10 points and Brian Washington led the game with 12 rebounds.
The Blugolds will be back at home Saturday for a game against UW-La Crosse. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.