By Bryce Meade, UWEC Sports Information
MORRIS, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's basketball team picked up a non-conference victory on Saturday afternoon over the Minnesota-Morris Cougars, 75-54.
Hot shooting from deep gave the Blugolds an early advantage, as three-pointers from Cole Rabedeaux (Jr. – Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap), Sean Miller (Jr. – Waukesha, WI/Kettle Moraine), and Spencer Page (Fr. – Rice Lake, WI) put the Blugolds out in front 11-2 six minutes into the game. Another three from Miller and a pair of layups from Ben Widdes (Sr. – Rice Lake, WI) gave Eau Claire a 21-11 lead with just under seven minutes to play in the first half. Ryan David (Jr. – Sugar Grove, IL/Kaneland) provided a spark off the bench late in the half, playing the final two minutes and knocking down back-to-back triples to help the Blugolds take a 35-25 lead at the half.
Eau Claire kept their momentum rolling after the break, as Rabedeaux scored 11 points in the first seven minutes of the half, helping the Blugolds extend their lead to 54-36. The Blugolds controlled the game the rest of the way, eventually putting the Cougars away handily, 75-54. The Blugolds shot 61.5 percent in the half and outscored the Cougars 40-29.
Widdes did a little bit of everything, leading the Blugolds in points (17), rebounds (7), assists (5), and steals (5). Rabedeaux added 16 points while Page and Miller each scored 10. Despite only scoring two points, Wilyam Wright (Sr. – Bolingbrook, IL/Plainfield East) played a key role for the Blugolds, dishing out three assists, grabbing five rebounds, recording two steals and forcing several other turnovers with his strong defensive play.
Eau Claire's defense was the difference, holding the Cougars to just 40.5 percent shooting from the field and scoring 26 points off 21 forced turnovers.
The Blugolds move to 3-1 on the season, and will travel to Superior to take on the UW-Superior Yellowjackets on Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM. Follow the action on Blugold Game Day or on the 'UWEC Blugolds' app on your mobile device.