PLATTEVILLE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team chipped away at a 14-point deficit after getting down late in the second half, but couldn't overcome No. 20 Washington University (Mo.) in a 62-57 loss today in the UW-Platteville Classic.
The Blugolds actually led the Bears 28-27 at the end of the first half after trading the lead several times during the first period of play. While neither team opened up more than a four point lead in the first half, Washington scored 10 unanswered points in the middle of the period and expanded the lead to a full 14 with just 7:55 remaining in the game.
With the seconds ticking down, the Blugold offense began to fire up. Kicked off by a layup from James Pfitzinger (Jr.-West St. Paul, Minn./Academy Of Holy Angels/St. Norbert), Eau Claire slowly eroded the Bears' lead. With just a 1:12 left in the game, a tip-in by Ivan Franklin (Sr.-Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater/UM-Duluth) brought the Blugolds to within two points. But Eau Claire was unable to put any more scores on the board and allowed three Washington free throws to bring the final score to 67-52.
The loss marks the first Blugold defeat of the season and drops the team to 1-1 overall.
In the defeat, Marcus Ruh's (So.-Green Bay , Wis./Bay Port) 12 points led the Blugolds while Nick Craggs (So.-Kimberly, Wis./Kimberly/UW-Whitewater) and John Mielke (So.-Appleton, Wis./East) each contributed 11. Mielke was perfect behind the three-point line, making all three of his attempts. Craggs, Dustin Kalien (So.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chi-Hi) and Andy Kleist (So.-Eau Claire, Wis./North) made the most rebounds for the Blugolds with five apiece.
Washington also bested the Blugolds in shooting, making 48.9 percent (22-45) while the Blugolds managed just 36.4 percent (20-55).
The Blugolds will face Clarke College (Iowa) in the second day of the Platteville Classic. The game is set to begin at 5 p.m. tomorrow.