The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Blugolds end last basketball game in Zorn Arena with a win

UWEC men’s basketball breaks their nine-game losing streak against UWL Eagles
Photo by Sophie Geske
“Farewell, Zorn Arena” flyers were handed out which included some history and photos.

The Blugold men’s basketball team played and won the last conference game to ever be played in Zorn Arena.

Carter Huschka is a fourth-year forward on the team, and according to the WIAC stats, he leads the conference in field goal percentage and rebounds as well as has the second most minutes played for the 2023-24 season.

“It feels pretty good being the last team to ever play in Zorn and actually close it out with a win,” Huschka said.

UW-Eau Claire has used Zorn Arena for over 70 years since it opened in 1952, and is currently building the County Materials Complex, which will hold the basketball games this next season.

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The last time the Blugolds faced off against the UW-La Crosse Eagles was Jan. 20 in La Crosse losing with a score of 68-84.

According to the history on the Blugold Athletics website, the Eagles have won the last nine games against Eau Claire, and that winning streak ended on Feb. 17.

The Blugolds started the game quickly, keeping it close with the Eagles. They ended the first half with a tie of 35-35.

After a quick 15-minute break the Blugolds continued strong in the second half. The Eagles took a quick lead while the Blugolds caught up. They went back and forth tying up the game multiple times.

With less than 10 minutes left in the game, the Blugolds took and held their lead.

Fourth-year guard Nolan Blair shot the last 3-pointer of the game with 1:37 left in the game bringing the Blugolds to an 11-point lead. His dad, Mike Blair, hit the first 3-pointer in Zorn Arena while he hit the last.

“I wasn’t even thinking about it but then when the clock hit zero I was like ‘oh my gosh, I guess it all worked out,’” Nolan said. “But that is a pretty cool story to have that always between me and my dad.”

The Blugolds ended the game with an 83-70 win.

The game against La Crosse was the last of this season. The Blugolds ended the season with an overall score of 12-13.

“I feel like we found our identity a little too late. I think if we were one or two games before this we found our identity we could be a dangerous team in the playoffs,” Huschka said. “We just wanted to end the season on a high note and I think we did that.”

After the game, the crowd was invited to the court for a group photo.

“The crowd was a big helping factor in the game tonight and I’m just happy people came out for it,” Huschka said.

Along with the win and the final game in Zorn Arena, it was senior night with Nolan being one of the players honored.

Nolan said his situation was a little unique as he did not initially want to play basketball in college so he joined intramurals his freshman year. Eventually, he decided to take his shot with the team.

“I think what I will miss the most is the bus rides with the guys, going out to eat, locker room talks,” Nolan said. “Just all the stuff you don’t really see on the floor. Just the day-to-day basics of hanging out and being a part of a team.”

Next season the Blugolds basketball games will be held in the County Materials Complex.

Geske can be reached at [email protected].

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