EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team got up by 17 points against UW-River Falls but had to hold off the Falcons to beat them 59-57 on Ken Anderson Court in Zorn Arena tonight.
River Falls led 4-0 after two minutes but the Blugolds then went on a 7-0 run over the next four minutes to take the lead and they never trailed again.
The Blugolds steadily increased their lead throughout the opening half and led by as many as 10 points with two minutes left before halftime. The Falcons got back to within six before the end of the first half.
Eau Claire closed the first half with a jumper from Jacob Kohner (So.-Bloomington, Minn./John F. Kennedy) to lead by eight at halftime and then started the second half with a 9-0 run to take a 42-25 lead three minutes into the half. It took the Falcons more than three minutes to score their first points of the second half.
With seven minutes left in the game, the Blugolds were up by 15 (55-40) but River Falls outscored the Blugolds 17-4 the rest of the way. River Falls got back to within one point with less than 50 seconds left but Adam Hjelter (So.-Hutchinson, Minn.) hit one free throw with 42 seconds left to put the Blugolds back up by two. River Falls missed two three-pointers after that, giving the Blugolds the win.
Three Blugolds reached double figures in scoring with Hjelter and Lewis Mau (Jr.-Colfax, Wis.) leading the way with 15 points each. Kohner added 10 points. Hjelter and Mau also led the Blugolds with a game-high six rebounds.
Shooting, the Blugolds finished going 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) from beyond the arc while the Falcons went 3-for-17 (17.6 percent). For the game, Eau Claire outshot River Falls from the field 46.7 percent (21-for-45) to 40 percent (18-for-45).
Eau Claire improves to 8-6 overall and 1-4 in WIAC play while River Falls drops to 6-8 on the season and 1-4 in the conference.
The Blugolds will be on the road Saturday at UW-Whitewater. Action is set to get underway at 7 p.m.