By Kyle Naber, UWEC Sports Information
LA CROSSE, Wis. (Blugolds.com)- The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's basketball team earned a 75-66 win over the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Wednesday night in Mitchell Hall.
With the Blugolds leading early in the first half, 13-11, the Eagles began a strong run. Starting with a jumper from UW-La Crosse's Taulvish McCray, the Eagles would go on a 15-4 run to take a 26-17 lead.
UW-Eau Claire was unable to cut into the lead as they went into the half trailing 31-21.
In the second half, the game continued to remain much the same. With 14:33 left in the game, Tanner Bruchs hit a 3-pointer to put the Eagles up 44-35. From there the Blugolds would make a run to get back into the game. The 16-3 run began with a layup from Cam Kuepers (Fr. – Madison, WI/Lakeside Lutheran) and was highlighted by six points from Blake Wacholz (So. – Lakeville, MN/South).
With UW-La Crosse still hanging in the game and trailing by five points, the Blugolds turned to their dynamic duo of Chris Duff (Sr. – Walker, MN) and George Diekelman (Sr. – Stevens Point, WI/SPASH). The 7-0 run from the senior duo would make it a 68-56 advantage for the Blugolds. From there, Eau Claire would finish the game strong fending off the Eagles to earn the win.
Duff finished with a team-high 19 points and added four rebounds, while Diekelman added 16 points and four assists to the box score.
Both teams shot the ball well on the night as they hit over half of their shots. The Blugolds shot 53.6 percent (30-56) compared to the Eagles who shot 51 percent from the field (25-49).
The win puts both teams at identical records (11-11, 3-8 WIAC) and will be a big storyline as the season winds down. UW-Eau Claire splits the season series with UW-La Crosse after losing earlier this season, 57-56.
The Blugolds will look to make it two in a row as they return home to take on UW-Platteville on Saturday. The 5:00 p.m. tip-off will honor UW-Eau Claire men's basketball alumni and will be Coaches Against Cancer Night. Follow all the action at Blugold Game Day.