EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - After facing a first period deficit, the UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team regrouped to dominate the second half and defeat Finlandia University (Mich.) 72-51 tonight at Zorn Arena.
Though the final score was fairly lopsided, the teams were closely matched in the first period. Eight minutes into play, Eau Claire went on a 10-0 run – led largely by eight points from Marcus Ruh (So.-Green Bay , Wis./Bay Port) – to capture not only the lead, but an eight-point advantage. But the Lions went on a streak of their own, outscoring the Blugolds 14-4 over the next five minutes. Down but not out, the Blugolds regrouped and closed to within one point of the lead by halftime.
Eau Claire made a statement in the second half, opening the period with nine unanswered points. The Blugold lead only escalated the lead from there, and the team outscored the Lions 41-19 in the final 20 minutes. When the buzzer sounded, the Blugolds held a game-high 21 points and the 72-51victory.
In the win, the Blugolds outshot Finlandia, making 47.7 percent (31-for-65) of its shots compared to the Lions' 32.3 percent (20-for-62). Ruh tallied a team-high 16 points in the victory, and Amadou Fofana (Sr.-Appleton, Wis./West) crossed double digits with a 10 point contribution. Nick Craggs (So.-Kimberly, Wis./Kimberly/UW-Whitewater) led the team with eight rebounds and Paul Franklin (Fr.-Stillwater, Minn.) made a game-high five steals. Turnovers were a big factor to the game, as the Blugolds outscored Finlandia 20-2 off turnovers.
The win keeps Eau Claire at 15-1 all-time against Finlandia. The team's season record improves to 7-6 overall.
Next up, the Blugolds will host conference opponent UW-Superior this Wednesday in Zorn Arena. Game time is set for 7 p.m.