December 7, 2011

Men's Basketball Takes Down Platteville for First WIAC Win

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team recorded its first WIAC win this season with a 73-63 victory over UW-Platteville at Zorn Arena tonight.

The Blugolds held a lead almost the entire night. Platteville took the opening lead but the Blugolds found their way to their first lead just over four minutes into the contest and never looked back.

Nick Craggs (Jr.-Kimberly, Wis.) hit a three-pointer to give the Blugolds a one point lead, their first of the game, at 15:51, which started a 7-0 run for Eau Claire. They continued the run over the next few minutes to build a nine-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play in the opening half.

While Platteville used a 10-2 run to get back to within one point (21-20) with four minutes to play in the first half, the Blugolds were able to get back up by five points by halftime (29-24).

In the second half, the Blugolds steadily increased their lead until reaching their largest lead of the game at 15 points with less than four minutes remaining.

But over the next two minutes, the Pioneers went on a 12-3 run to close the gap to just five. Over the remaining minute and a half, the Blugolds outscored the Pioneers 9-4, hitting seven free throws. Craggs capped the Blugolds' scoring with a dunk to give the Blugolds a 12-point lead before Platteville's B.J. Litz hit the final shot to make the score 73-63.

Four Blugolds reached double-figures in scoring with Andy Kleist (Jr.-Eau Claire, Wis./North) and Dustin Kalien (Jr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chi-Hi) leading the way with 14 points. Kleist recorded a double-double as he also had a team-high 11 rebounds. Jordan Petersen (Jr.-Strum, Wis./Eleva-Strum) finished with a game-high six assists and had 11 points.

Eau Claire is now 6-2 overall and 1-1 in the WIAC. Platteville drops to 4-4 overall and 0-2 in conference play.

The Blugolds will be home Saturday for a game against UW-Whitewater. The contest is part of a doubleheader with the women and will get underway about 5 p.m. The women play Whitewater at 3 p.m.

-KM-