By Kyle Naber, UWEC Sports Information
NORTHFIELD, Minn. (Blugolds.com)- Troy Diggins Jr.'s 18 points off the bench proved to be too much as the St. Olaf College Oles defeated the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's basketball team 75-61, Saturday afternoon at Bob Gelle Court.
The Blugolds had a game plan built around stopping St. Olaf's Robert Tobroxen and Nate Albers who had 20 and 15 points, respectively in their win over the UW-Stevens Point. Eau Claire was able to hold the duo to 10 points each, but Diggins Jr.'s big night was enough to push the Oles past the Blugolds.
Eau Claire opened the game with a quick 4-0 lead and continued to fight off the rallying efforts of St. Olaf. With 11:33 left to play in the first half, the Oles were able to take their first lead of the game following a Sam Stensgard layup.
The Blugolds regained their lead on the next possession after Steve Christiansen (Jr. – Apple Valley, MN) knocked down a three-pointer. The seesaw game continued with the Blugolds still trying to find a way to pull ahead of the Oles. With the game tied up at 20, Sean Miller (So. – Waukesha, WI/Kettle Moraine) hit a three-pointer to push the Blugolds in front. A Diggins Jr. made jumper and a three from Jake Lyle would give St. Olaf a 25-23 lead. From there the Oles would not look back as they did not surrender the lead again.
In the second half, the hot-shooting from the Oles would push St. Olaf to a 16-point advantage. Eau Claire was able to trim the lead to 10 points on multiple times in the second half, but quickly saw St. Olaf pull way. The Blugolds struggled shooting in the second half going 6 of 24 from the field, compared to the Oles, who were 15 of 23.
The Blugolds were led by George Diekelman (Sr. – Stevens Point, WI/SPASH) who had 23 points, including 13 of 15 from the free-throw line in the second half. Following Diekelman was Dan Becken (Sr. – Lino Lakes, MN/Centennial), who set a new career-high with 12 points.
Up next for Eau Claire (0-2) is a road trip to Marian University (Wis.) (0-2) on Tuesday, Nov. 21 where both teams will be searching for their first win of the season.
Follow the action on Blugold Game Day.