November 25, 2011

Late Push Lifts Men's Basketball Past Rockford

OSHKOSH, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Powered by a late second-half run, the UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team was able to get by Rockford College (Ill.) 67-62 at the UW-Oshkosh Classic today.

While the Blugolds opened with a 4-0 lead only a minute into the game, Rockford went on a 5-0 run over the next six and a half minutes to take a 5-4 lead before Nick Bartlett (Jr.-Arden Hills, Minn./Mounds View) ended the Blugolds' scoring drought with a three-pointer. Midway through the opening half, the teams were tied at 11.

The rest of the half, the teams went back and forth and while the score was tied at 22 with just over four minutes to play, Eau Claire outscored Rockford 4-2 the rest of the way to take a 26-24 lead into halftime.

In the second half, the teams started out slow again but with less than seven minutes to play, Rockford found its way to a 10-point lead (53-43) after outscoring the Blugolds 19-9 over almost a seven-minute stretch.

But over the final seven minutes, the Blugolds steadily chipped away at Rockford's lead and the teams were tied at 57 with less than two minutes to play, and were tied again at 62 with 16 seconds remaining.

In the closing seconds, Jordan Petersen (Jr.-Strum, Wis./Eleva-Strum) hit a shot to give the Blugolds a two-point lead and two Rockford players were each given technical fouls. The Blugolds went to the line for six free throw shots and hit three of them to win by five. Eau Claire outscored Rockford 24-9 over the final six and a half minutes of the game.

Rockford led the game shooting 43.1 percent (25-for-58) to the Blugolds' 18-for-48 (37.5 percent). Rockford also outrebounded the Blugolds 45-30 but committed more turnovers, 23 to Eau Claire's 17.

Petersen led the game with 21 points while Dustin Kalien (Jr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chi-Hi) led the Blugolds with six rebounds. Bartlett added 11 points while Nick Craggs (Jr.-Kimberly, Wis.) had 12.

The Blugolds are now 4-1 on the season while Rockford lost its first game to drop to 2-1.

Tomorrow the Blugolds will take on St. Mary's University (Minn.) on the final day of the UW-Oshkosh Classic. Action will get underway at 3 p.m.

-KM-

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