By Kyle Naber, UWEC Sports Information
WHITEWATER, Wis. (Blugolds.com)- Chris Duff (Sr. – Walker, MN) scored a team-high 18 points, but the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire fell short, 75-59, to No. 8 UW-Whitewater Saturday night at Kachel Gymnasium.
UW-Eau Claire opened fast with a quick 6-2 run, but their lead would be short-lived, as the Warhawks would respond with a 13-4 run. The lead change would be the only switch of the game.
The Blugolds would fight to keep pace with the Warhawks, but were unable to establish any significant runs and resulting in them trailing 40-30 at the half.
Eau Claire needed a strong second half start to earn an upset win and that is just what they got as the team opened with a 10-5 run to make it a 45-40 deficit. However, two quick 3-pointers from UW-Whitewater would build the Warhawk lead back to nine points.
With 8:42 left in the game, Dan Becken (Sr. – Lino Lakes, MN/Centennial) made a tip-in shot to make it a 61-51 game. From there, Whitewater would finish the game strong 14-8 run as they cruised to a win at home.
Duff finished 18 points and eight rebounds to lead the Blugolds. Following Duff was George Diekelman (Sr. – Stevens Point, WI/SPASH), who had 13 points and six rebounds.
The Blugolds shot the ball and rebounded extremely well, but the difference was the effort from the Warhawks beyond the arc. UW-Eau Claire shot 24 for 48 and out-rebounded UW-Whitewater 29-22. However, the Blugolds were outmatched from deep as the Warhawks hit 12 of 21 3-point attempts, compared to 2 for 5 shooting for the Blugolds.
With just six WIAC games left on their schedule the Blugolds remain on the outside looking in to the WIAC tournament. UW-Eau Claire will look to turn things around with a War on I-94 rivalry win over the UW-Stout on Wednesday. The game will be the second of Wednesday's doubleheader, as the women will play at 6 and the men 8 p.m. Follow all the action on Blugold Game Day.