Blugolds fall in WIAC Opener

Blugolds fall in WIAC Opener

By Kyle Naber, UWEC Sports Information

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - George Diekelman (Sr. – Stevens Point, WI/SPASH) scored 12 points, but the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's basketball team fell to the UW-La Crosse Eagles 57-56 Wednesday night at Zorn Arena. 

Box Score

The Blugolds opened 2018 and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) play with the Eagles and both teams were ready to make an early statement in conference play. 

The back-and-fourth game took a UWL turn when they went on an early 13-2 run. 

The Blugolds used hot shooting from beyond the arc to get back into the game. Trailing 27-20, Eau Claire used back-to-back 3-pointers from Sean Miller (So. – Waukesha, WI/Kettle Moraine) and Chris Duff (Sr. – Walker, MN) to trim the lead to just one. The 8-0 run would be capped off by Miller who gave the Blugolds a 28-27 lead. 

The Eagles responded with a quick 5-0 run, but a jumper from Diekelman would make it a 32-30 game going into the break. 

After an early Eagle basket, Duff would knock down consecutive 3-pointers to put Eau Claire back in the lead, 36-34. 

The game would continue to be close all the way to the end as neither team was able to extend their lead past three points. 

With 1:17 left in the game, La Crosse converted on a layup to make it a 55-54 game. Another Eagle layup would extend their lead to three. The Blugolds were able to convert on two of three free throw attempts on the other end to come within one but the Eagles would hold on for the win.

The loss snaps a four game winning streak and gives the Blugolds a record of (8-4, 0-1 WIAC)

Following Diekelman for Eau Claire was Duff and Cole Rabedeaux (So. – Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap) with 11 points each. 

Up next for Eau Claire is a road matchup against the UW-Platteville on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.  Follow all the action on Blugold Game Day.