By Kyle Naber, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire men's basketball team earned a 60-57 win over No. 6 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, snapping a five-game skid Saturday night at Zorn Arena.
The Titans opened the game strong on the road with an 18-6 run, highlighted by six quick points from UW-Oshkosh's Jack Flynn. UW-Oshkosh continued to extend their lead late into the first half. Two free throws from Charlie Noone built the Titan lead up to 13 points.
George Diekelman (Sr. – Stevens Point, WI/SPASH) responded in a big way, leading a 6-2 run, with the senior responsible for all six points. Diekelman was able to trim the Titan lead to nine points, 29-20.
UW-Oshkosh would continue to be strong down the stretch of the first half, but in the closing minute a layup from Diekelman would again trim the Titan lead to nine as the score read 38-29, heading into the break.
The second half would start with both teams battling and neither team able to gain ground. The stalemate would end with just over 12 minutes left in the game. A Cam Kuepers (Fr. – Madison, WI/Lakeside Lutheran) layup would start a 16-2 run that would completely change the momentum of the game.
UW-Oshkosh's Ben Boots would respond with five quick points of his own to trim the Blugold lead to just one, 56-55 with under a minute left to play. Chris Duff (Sr. – Walker, MN) would convert on both of his free-throw attempts to push the lead to three points.
After a timeout, the Titans would find an opening in the Blugold defense allowing Flynn to hit a layup again making it a one-point game. With six seconds left on the clock, Diekelman was fouled and hit both of his attempts making it a 60-57 game.
Boots would have a chance to tie the game up with a buzzer beater, but was not able to convert, sealing the upset win for the Blugolds.
Leading the way for UW-Eau Claire was Diekelman who finished with a strong bounce-back effort scoring 24 points and six rebounds. Following him was Clay Kujawa (Fr. – Greendale, WI) who added 14 points and six rebounds and Sean Miller (So. – Waukesha, WI/Kettle Moraine) who chipped in 10 points and six rebounds as well.
The 0-6 effort from beyond the arc marks the first time since December 12, 2007, a 64-49 loss to University of Wisconsin-La Crosse that the Blugolds failed to record a 3-point basket.
UW-Eau Claire did their damage from the free-throw line, as they were 20-25 from the charity stripe.
The Blugolds (9-8, 1-5 WIAC) improve to5-2 at home with the win. UW-Eau Claire will finish the home stand with a Wednesday night matchup against the No. 13 ranked University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The Blugolds will look to make it back-to-back upsets at Zorn Arena. Follow the action on Blugold Game Day.