When Nick Craggs for UW-Eau Claire hit a 3 pointer with 15:51 left in the first half, it put the Blugolds ahead 5-4 and for the rest of the contest en route to a 73-63 win against UW-Platteville on Thursday night at Zorn Arena in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
The Blugolds (6-2, 1-1 WIAC) held the Pioneers to 33.9% (21-for-62) shooting in the contest. Four starters were in double figures for UW-Eau Claire in the win. Andy Kleist had a double double with 14 points and 11 rebounds – including six on the offensive side – to lead the Blugolds. He was joined by Dustin Kalien, who had 14 with three 3 pointers, Jordan Petersen added 11 with six assists and Nick Bartlett chipped in 10.
The Pioneers (4-4, 0-2 WIAC) were led by senior Brett Stangel for the eighth-straight game with 14 points. Freshman Jake Manning had the second double double of his young career with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds – including six on the offensive side. Manning scored 12 of his 13 in the final 20 minutes for UW-Platteville.
In the second half, UW-Platteville managed to cut it to four, 47-43, when senior reserve B.J. Litz hit a 3 pointer with 9:50 to go. The Pioneers had two possessions to trim the deficit further before UW-Eau Claire scored 11 of the next 13 points to blow the contest wide open and take a double-digit lead on the visitors.
Down the stretch, 3-point plays by Manning and Rob Stallion dwindled the deficit to five, 64-59, with 1:29 to play. The home team iced the victory, making seven of eight free throws.
The Pioneers will next travel to Menomonie on Saturday, Dec. 10 and face UW-Stout at 6 p.m.