By Emily Simonson, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire men's basketball team (12-9, 5-5 WIAC) traveled to Menomonie for the "War On 94" matchup against UW-Stout on Wednesday night. The Blugold men bested the Blue Devils, 70-61 in what was an exciting road game.
The Blugolds started strong offensively, getting the early 9-3 lead on the Blue Devils. Two three-pointers and a layup from Cole Rabedeaux (Jr. – Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap) tallied eight early points for the Blugold guard. Cam Keupers (So. – Madison, WI/Lakeside Lutheran) would convert a three shortly after to extend the Blugold lead to nine. However, Stout would then go on a 10-0 run to take the lead from Eau Claire. The Blue Devils gained their biggest lead in the later portion of the first half but Ben Widdes (Sr. – Rice Lake, WI) knocked down a three to chip away at the Stout lead before halftime. Widdes had eight quick points to end the first half, sending him into the locker room leading in points for the Blugolds with twelve.
Just like the start of the first half, the Blugold offense came out of the locker room swinging early in the second half. A series of three-pointers by Steve Christiansen (Sr. – Apple Valley, MN), Wilyam Wright (Sr. – Bolingbrook, IL/Plainfield East), and Rabedeaux, as well a layup by Kuepers created an 11-0 run to put the Blugold men back on top. Stout started to make a bit of a comeback but Sean Miller (Jr. – Waukesha, WI/Kettle Moraine) disrupted the comeback, sinking two free throws. The Blugolds were able to pull away after that. Rabedeaux had an exciting and-one followed by two threes from Widdes and Kuepers to make it 64-53 with three minutes remaining. Stout attempted a comeback by fouling the Blugold men but, ultimately, the Eau Claire free throw shooting prevailed and sealed the win for the Blugolds.
Rabedeaux ended the night with 21 points, followed by Widdes with 18, and Kuepers with 16. Widdes and Rabedeaux tallied seven rebounds and Wright had five. The Blugolds converted 11 three-pointers during the game and had 16 points off turnovers. Eau Claire sank 15 total free throws, six of which came in the final minutes, and shot 88.2 percent from the line.
This is the third win in a row for the Blugold men, (13-9, 6-5 WIAC) who will travel to UW-La Crosse this Saturday, February 9 for a 5:00 p.m. game. Follow the action on Blugold Game Day or by downloading the 'UWEC Blugolds' app for your mobile device.