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

Basketball wins opener at Zorn

The UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team held off a late run by St. Scholastica (Minn.) at Zorn Arena Wednesday night to win their first home game of the season 84-70 and improve to 4-2 on the young season.

The Blugolds came out of the gates hot, shooting 70 percent from the field in the first half, fueled by sophomore guard Lewis Mau’s 17 first half points.

Mau credits their offensive prowess in the first half to solid team play and quality shot selection.

“We tried to work the shot clock a lot in this game,” Mau said. “We made the extra pass, drove to the hoop, drew the defense to us and then kicked it out for the open jumpers.”

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The team made seven of its first eight three-point shots and jumped out to a 50-29 lead going into the locker room for halftime.

The team went cold after the half, however, failing to score for five minutes during the second half and letting the Saints back into the game.

Senior forward Dustin Kalien said the team has a lot of work to do on defense before conference foe UW-La Crosse comes to Zorn Arena Dec. 1.

“We work on (defense) every day in practice but we need to continue to work on it,” Kalien said. “You’ve seen stretches where we play great defense and then stretches where they can go on a run. We need to even that out and play good defense all 40 minutes.”

That lack of defense gave St. Scholastica an opportunity to get back into the game down the stretch, bringing the score to 72-67 after Saints freshman Scottie Rucks hit a layup with just more than three minutes left in the contest.

First year head coach Matt Siverling took a timeout after that play and his team responded closing the game on a 12-3 run to end the game with the 14 point victory.

Siverling said that he knew a comeback from St. Scholastica could happen, and he was glad that the team could entertain the fans and save the victory.

“Tonight, we knew that this team had the potential to make a run at us, and they did,” Siverling said. “We did enough to get the win.”

Kalien led all scorers with 22 points while Mau recorded 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

Play in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will start this upcoming weekend, and Kalien thinks that it was good to get a home victory for momentum going into their game with La Crosse.

“We have some good conference opponents coming up,” Kalien said. “Our conference is always tough. It’s good to have tough non-conference games going in, especially a home victory.”

The Blugolds offense was their strong point in their first game at home under a new coach, something Siverling thinks is a bright spot for his new team.

He said that if they want to compete against La Crosse, they need to keep that up, and again stressed the importance of tightening up their defense.

“I feel like we have a pretty good idea what our rotation is going to be like,” Siverling said. “I think these guys have got a lot of confidence, especially after tonight on the offensive end … but we’re not going to win many games outscoring teams in this league, we’re going to have to defend.”

Eau Claire will try to improve to 5-2 in their first conference game at 3 p.m., Dec. 1 in Zorn Arena.

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Basketball wins opener at Zorn