RIVER FALLS, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – While the UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team kept the game close in the opening half, the UW-River Falls Falcons proved to be too much for the Blugolds to handle in an 88-76 loss at the Karges Center tonight.
The Blugolds hit the first shot of the game to take the opening lead but just over two minutes into the contest, River Falls hit a three-pointer to take its first lead and never looked back.
The Falcons outscored the Blugolds 11-2 over the first five and a half minutes to go ahead by nine. The closest the Blugolds would get the rest of the half was four points three times, but River Falls took a seven-point lead into halftime (35-28).
In the second half, the Falcons led by double-digits almost the entire time. River Falls got up by as much as 19 points, 13 minutes into the closing half. In the final minutes, the Blugolds got to within nine points with just over two minutes to go, but the Falcons recovered to again get up by 14 before Jordan Petersen (Jr.-Strum, Wis./Eleva-Strum) scored two free throws at the end to make the final score 88-76.
Petersen led the game with a career-high 36 points. He was 11-for-15 from the floor and 11-for-13 from the free throw line. Thirty-six points, the highest Blugold scoring total in the last 27 years, is the most points scored by a Blugold in a game since Jason Larson scored 36 against Puerto Rico-Turabo on November 23, 2001. Besides Larson's 36, the only other 36-point game in the last 27 years was 36 by Sherm Carstensen in the 2000 NCAA national championship game vs. Calvin. The last player to score more than 36 was Chester Smith with 37 on February 26, 1985 against UW-Platteville. He also had 38 vs. UW-Whitewater on February 15, 2985.
The two teams combined for 102 shots from the field and 81 free throws. River Falls led the game shooting 52.9 percent (27-for-51) while the Blugolds shot 41.2 percent (21-for-51). The Falcons held a large rebounding advantage, 46-25.
The Falcons are now 12-4 overall and 6-1 in the WIAC. The Blugolds fall to 10-6 on the season and 3-5 in conference play.
The Blugolds will be home Wednesday for a game against Finlandia University (Mich.). Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.