RIVER FALLS, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team picked up 73-65 victory over UW-River Falls at the Karges Center tonight with Adam Hjelter (So.-Hutchinson, Minn.) scoring a career-high 39 points to lead the team.
The teams started the game going back and forth but an 11-0 run midway through the first half gave the Blugolds a 10-point lead (28-18). The Falcons came back and cut the halftime deficit to just one point as the Blugolds led 30-29.
Again the game was played close in the opening minutes of the second half with four ties during the first seven minutes. During that stretch, River Falls led by as many as three points while the Blugolds led by as many as two.
But over the final 12 minutes, the Blugolds began pulling away. After outscoring the Falcons 20-12 over the next nine minutes, Eau Claire led by eight points (60-52) and then got up by as many as 11 points with just over a minute left.
The closest the Falcons got after that was five points, but the Blugolds hit six free throws in the final 25 seconds to win by eight.
Hjelter's 39 points were just 10 shy of the Blugolds' school record of 49 points, held by Tony Carr since 1982. Hjelter went 10-for-15 from the field, including 6-for-10 from beyond the arc, while going 13-for-14 from the free throw line.
Eau Claire is now 10-12 overall and 3-10 in the WIAC while River Falls drops to 7-15 on the season and 2-11 in conference play.
The Blugolds will be home Wednesday against UW-Oshkosh for a game starting at 7 p.m.