By Kyle Naber, UWEC Sports Information
RIVER FALLS, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's basketball team fell to the UW-River Falls 77-61 on Wednesday night at Don Page Arena.
In the first half, the two teams exchanged jumpers in a quick starting game. With the score tied, 9-9, the Falcons went on 8-1 run. The Blugolds would not be able to make a counter move, but would remain close. At 7:10 in the first half, Blake Wacholz (So. – Lakeville, MN/South) would make a layup to trim the UW-River Falls lead to 24-20. The Falcons responded by scoring six unanswered points making it a 30-20 lead, their largest of the first half.
UW-Eau Claire Head Coach Matt Siverling would call a time-out and regroup his team. Following the timeout, George Diekelman (Sr. – Stevens Point, WI/SPASH) converted on a layup and would make the ensuing foul shot, to complete the three-point play. Cole Rabedeaux (So. – Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap) would continue the comeback with back-to-back baskets. Then Diekelman would tie the game with a 3-pointer.
The Falcons would again come back strong though, and went into the break with a 35-32 lead.
In the second half, it took nearly three minutes for a team to kick off the scoring. With 14:01 left in the game, UW-River Falls would extend their lead to 48-42 following a layup from Brennan Witt.
Diekelman would answer the call again, this time hitting all of his free-throw attempts after being fouled on a 3-point shot. From that point, the Blugolds would only score two points over the next minutes and would see the Falcon lead balloon.
By the time Eau Claire regained their offensive groove, the game was already too far gone for them to make a comeback.
Diekelman was a bright spot in the midst of a tough shooting day for the Blugolds. The senior led the team with 20 points and four rebounds. No other player for UW-Eau Claire scored in the double-digits as the team shot just 24-of-59 (40.7 percent) from the field.
Up next for Eau Claire (11-13, 3-10 WIAC) is their final regular season game of the year. The senior night matchup against UW-Stevens Point will be the last game at Zorn Arena for Diekelman, Chris Duff (Sr. – Walker, MN) and Dan Becken (Sr. – Lino Lakes, MN/Centennial).
The Blugolds will look to avenge their 70-61 loss to the Pointers earlier this year and fight for the last spot in the WIAC tournament.
Follow all the action on Blugold Game Day.