MENOMONIE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Playing in its first conference game since Dec. 11, the UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team struggled in the first half and couldn't recover as the Blugolds fell 56-45 to UW-Stout at Johnson Fieldhouse.
The game was scoreless for the first two minutes but less than four minutes in, the Blue Devils took a 4-2 lead and never looked back.
Stout didn't get ahead by more than five points during the first 13 minutes, but then steadily increased its lead over the final seven minutes of the first half, getting up by as many as 15 points with a minute to go. At halftime, the Blue Devils led 31-17, the fewest points the Blugolds have scored in a half this season.
The deficit was too much to overcome as Eau Claire outscored Stout 28-25 in the second half. Midway through the second half, the Blue Devils got up by 23 points (48-25) but the Blugolds then went on a 14-1 run to get back to within 10 with five minutes to go but it was as close as they would get. Stout got back up by 17 with just over a minute to go while the Blugolds scored six at the end to get back to within 11.
Lewis Mau (Jr.-Colfax, Wis.) and Adam Hjelter (So.-Hutchinson, Minn.) tied for a game-high with 12 points. Hjelter and Kurtis Moody (So.-Pequot Lakes, Minn.) led the Blugolds in rebounding with five each.
Eau Claire had a season low shooting percentage from the field, 30.9 percent, going 17-for-55. The Blugolds attempted just five free throws, making three, while the Blue Devils scored 17 points at the free throw line.
The Blugolds fall to 7-6 overall and 0-4 in the WIAC while Stout improves to 8-4 on the season and 3-1 in conference play.
Wednesday the Blugolds will host UW-River Falls for a game beginning at 7 p.m. in Zorn Arena.