By Kyle Naber, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's basketball team closed out 2017 with a victory over Northland College to sweep the Holiday Classic at Zorn Arena.
The Blugolds found themselves locked in a tight battle to begin the night. With the game tied 6-6, George Diekelman (Sr. – Stevens Point, WI/SPASH) hit a 3-pointer to spark a 7-2 run. From there, Eau Claire continued to hold off the Lumberjacks in the first half. The Blugolds were strong down the stretch as they continued to shoot well. Cam Kuepers (Fr. – Madison, WI/Lakeside Lutheran) nailed a 3-pointer as time expired to give Eau Claire their largest lead of the night, 12 points, heading into the break.
In the second half, the Blugolds continued to dominate as they opened the half on a 19-4 run. Eau Claire continued to knock down their shots from beyond the arc to build and maintain their lead.
Diekelman lead the way for Eau Claire with 18 points and five rebounds. Following Diekelman was a trio of Blugolds, Sean Miller (So. – Waukesha, WI/Kettle Moraine), Montrell Oliver (So. – Naperville, IL/Metea Valley) and Clay Kujawa (Fr. – Greendale, WI) who all added 10 points.
On the night, Eau Claire shot 31-of-59 (52.5 percent) compared to the Lumberjacks, who struggled shooting 19-of-59 (32.2 percent). The Blugolds out-rebounded Northland 40-33.
For the second straight night, Head Coach Matt Siverling was able to get all 16 players into the game. The depth proved to be the difference for Eau Claire as they outscored the Lumberjacks in bench points 36-5.
The Blugolds close out 2017 with an 8-3 record and now look forward to the start of Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) play. Eau Claire will start their conference schedule on Wednesday, where they are set to take on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The third straight home game for the Blugolds will start at 7:00 p.m.
Follow all the action live on Blugold Game Day.