DULUTH, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team held a lead the entire night and defeated the College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) 63-41 in the Blugolds' season-opener at Reif Gymnasium tonight.
While the Saints were held scoreless over the first five minutes, it was a low scoring affair early as the Blugolds managed just two baskets in that time period.
The Blugolds steadily built a nine-point lead 14 minutes into the game, but the Saints used a 5-0 run to close the gap to just four points. At the end of the half, the Blugolds found themselves up by a narrow four-point margin (19-15).
But in a second half where the Blugolds shot 71.4 percent (15-for-21), Eau Claire pushed its lead to 12 with an 8-0 run to open the half.
Again, the Saints didn't go away and cut the Blugolds' lead to just five at the 11:18 mark, but from there Eau Claire outscored the Saints 30-13 to take home the 22-point victory.
While Jordan Petersen (Jr.-Strum, Wis./Eleva-Strum) led the Blugolds with 11 points, Andy Kleist (Jr.-Eau Claire, Wis./North) finished the game with a double-double, pulling down a career-high 12 rebounds and scoring 10 points. Nick Craggs (Jr.-Kimberly, Wis.) led the game with four steals and scored seven points while recording four rebounds.
For the game, Eau Claire out-rebounded the Saints 50-28 and shot 46 percent (23-for-60) to the Saints' 25 percent (15-for-60).
The Blugolds, who own a 14-0 all-time record against St. Scholastica, have won three straight season-openers against the Saints.
This weekend the Blugolds will play at the UW-Platteville Classic. They will tip-off against North Park (Ill.) on Friday at 5 p.m. and will follow with a Saturday game against Concordia (Wis.).