By Kyle Naber, UWEC Sports Information
MENOMONIE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The hard times continue for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's basketball team, as they remain winless in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) following a 65-51 loss to the UW-Stout Wednesday night at Johnson Fieldhouse.
The Blugolds' promising 8-3 start to their season has taken a dramatic shift in the wrong direction since the start of 2018. UW-Eau Claire is on a five-game losing streak and now face an uphill battle to get back into the WIAC race.
The War on I-94 got off to a quick start as both teams remained within a few points throughout the majority of the first half. The Blugolds had chances to go on big runs, but were not able to find their mark from beyond the arc, shooting just 3-for-14. UW-Eau Claire would trail by just 4 points, 28-24, headed into the half, thanks in large part due to the struggles of the Blue Devils, who failed to convert on any of their 3-point attempts in the first half (0-5).
In the second half, UW-Stout looked to put away the Blugolds, but UW-Eau Claire would fight back into the game. Trailing 36-30, George Diekelman (Sr. – Stevens Point, WI/SPASH) hit a jump shot to cut the Blue Devil lead back to four points. A blocked shot from Steve Christiansen (Jr. – Apple Valley, MN) would set up a Cam Kuepers (Fr. – Madison, WI/Lakeside Lutheran) lay-up. Kuepers was fouled on the attempt and would convert on the three-point play to trim the lead to just one. Following a free throw for the Blue Devils, Cole Rabedeaux (So. – Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap) would tie the game up at 37 with a layup.
Then it would be UW-Stout who would go on a game-clinching run. The 13-0 run would give the Blue Devils a big enough lead to fight off the Blugolds, despite their best attempt.
On the night, Eau Claire struggled shooting 35.6 percent from the field (21-59) and were not as aggressive getting to the basket as they had just five three-throw attempts. Stout only converted on one 3-point attempt (1-8), but found success from the charity stripe as they knocked down 20-of-24 attempts.
Rabedeaux led UW-Eau Claire with 11 points and two rebounds.
The Blugolds played a clean game, turning the ball over only five times, but were out-rebounded 38-26. Without second chance opportunities or their usual hot shooting, the Blugolds just could not find enough to get the win.
The road does not get any easier as Eau Claire (8-8, 0-5 WIAC) will return home to take on No. 6 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Saturday night. The Blugolds will look to upset the Titans and earn their first win in the WIAC.
Follow all the action on Blugold Game Day.