EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team upset 12th-ranked UW-Stevens Point with a 77-58 victory over the Pointers on Ken Anderson Court at Zorn Arena tonight.
The win over the Pointers is the Blugolds' first since Feb. 7, 2001. Coming into tonight's contest, Stevens Point had won 23 straight. With the loss, the Pointers also lost a share of the WIAC title as a win would have given them a tie for first place with UW-Whitewater.
Despite the exciting win, the Blugolds will miss the conference tournament for the third straight year. While the Blugolds' tournament hopes were still alive by defeating the Pointers, UW-Superior needed to beat UW-La Crosse tonight to give the Blugolds a bid into the tournament. However, Superior fell 65-64 on its home court.
The Blugolds controlled the game right from the beginning. Holding the Pointers scoreless over the first two and half minutes, the Blugolds built a four-point lead and found their way to a 10-point lead seven minutes into the game.
Moments later, the Blugolds got up by 16 points and eventually built their lead to 18 (40-22) with 3:27 left in the first half but Stevens Point got back to within 12 points (42-30) by halftime.
In the second half, Stevens Point got as close as eight points, four times. While the Pointers were down by nine points with 1:27 left, the Blugolds went on to close the game on a 10-run to win by 19. In the final minute, senior James Pfitzinger (West St. Paul, Minn./Academy of Holy Angels), who led the game with a career-high 13 rebounds, finished with two dunks.
Jordan Petersen (Jr.-Strum, Wis./Eleva-Strum) led the game with 23 points while Dustin Kalien (Jr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chi-Hi) finished with 14. Nick Bartlett (Sr.-Arden Hills, Minn./Mounds View), the Blugolds' only other senior, finished with eight points and tied for a game-high with three assists.
Eau Claire edged the Pointers in rebounds, 40-31, and outshot them 48.1 percent (25-for-52) to 32.1 percent (18-for-56). The Pointers' 32.1 shooting percentage from the field was their worst performance since Dec. 2, 2008, a 75-59 loss to Lawrence University.
The Blugolds end the season with a 15-10 overall mark and 7-9 conference record to finish in seventh place in the league.