ST. PAUL, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – Playing in the first game of the 2013-14 season, the UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team came from behind to defeat Hamline University (Minn.) 70-66 at Hutton Arena this afternoon.
During the first 12 minutes of the opening half, the Blugolds and Pipers went back and forth. After Eau Claire led 20-19 with eight minutes remaining in first half, Hamline went on a 7-0 over the next two minutes to take a 26-20 lead. The Pipers led 35-29 at halftime.
In the second half, the Blugolds got to within three points twice in the first four minutes. But a 9-2 run ending at 11:07 by Hamline gave the Pipers a 53-43 lead. They also led by 10 (60-50) with less than seven minutes to play.
But the Blugolds outscored Hamline 20-6 over the final six minutes to secure the victory. Eau Claire took the lead for good with less than two minutes remaining. Over the final six minutes, just three Blugolds scored points for Eau Claire, led by Kurtis Moody (So.-Pequot Lakes, Minn.) with 10 points, eight of them coming at the free throw line. He finished the game with 11 points.
Adam Hjelter (So.-Hutchinson, Minn.) led the game with 22 points and Lewis Mau (Jr.-Colfax, Wis.) finished second for Eau Claire with 20 points. Kevin Jensen (So.-Victoria, Minn./Chanhassen) led the game with nine rebounds while he also had six points.
Hamline had 21 turnovers to 14 for Eau Claire and the Blugolds converted those miscues into 21 points while the Pipers scored just six.
While the Pipers had six more field goals than the Blugolds (26-20) Eau Claire went 25-for-38 at the free throw line while Hamline was 9-for-18.
The Blugolds will be at the College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) on Tuesday for a game beginning at 7:30 p.m.