PLATTEVILLE, Wis. - After leading by as many as 21 points in the first half, Concordia University Wisconsin's men's basketball team couldn't hold on against UW-Eau Claire falling, 68-63, in non-conference action on Saturday night during the Gabe Miller Tip-Off Classic on Bo Ryan Court.
CUW (2-1) missed its first six shots of the game before it made 12-of-15 field goals to go in front 32-11 and take a 21-point lead - the largest of the game - just 13 minutes into the contest. The momentum shifted to UW-Eau Claire (1-2) from then on as it shot 61 percent in the second half to take a lead it wouldn't relinquish with 4:52 left in the game.
The Blugolds led by three in the closing seconds, but an errant pass on the Falcons' final possession ended any chance of overtime. Despite 26 points from the CUW bench, the difference in the second half was UW-EC's 14-of-17 performance at the charity stripe, including 9-of-10 by Jordan Peterson.
"We did not execute the final seven minutes of the first half or at times during the second half on the defensive end," head coach Shawn Cassidy said. "Unfortunately a great team effort did not result in a victory."
Senior Luke Doedens (Cedarburg, Wis.) led all scorers with 18 points, including 3-for-4 from behind the arc. He was named to the all-tournament team. Freshman Ben Brooke (Viroqua, Wis.) scored eight points off the bench in 12 minutes of action and junior Steve Zielinski (Brown Deer, Wis.) finished with seven points and team-high eight rebounds. Senior Mitchell Schneider (New Holstein, Wis.) finished with seven points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals, but shot 2-of-11 in the game.
CUW drained five of its eight 3-pointers in the game during the first 13 minutes of play.
Peterson led four UW-EC players in double-figures with 15 points to go along with seven rebounds. Dustin Kalien and James Pfitzinger each scored 11 points, while Nick Craggs chipped in 10 points. The Blugolds held a 40-29 rebounding advantage in the win.
UW-EC chipped away at the 21-point first half deficit and got to within 10 points, 32-22, as the halftime buzzer sounded. The Blugolds held the Falcons scoreless over the final 7:05 of the opening period. CUW received 15 of its 32 first half points from the bench.
In the second half Kalien drained a jumper to get the Blugolds to within four points, 38-34, before the Falcons pushed the advantage back to 12 points with 9:46 remaining in the game.
UW-EC tied the game on two occasions before eventually taking its second lead of the game on a Craggs' free throw with 4:52 left in the contest. The Falcons had several chances to retake the lead, but eventually had to foul the Blugolds and send them to the free throw line.
CUW has the next six days off before its home opener on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 4:30 p.m. against Concordia University Chicago. That contest, inside the John Buuck Fieldhouse, will also be the Northern Athletics Conference opener for both teams.
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