Men’s basketball team looking for growth this season

The Blugold men’s basketball season begins Nov. 11
The Blugolds start the regular season off with a two-game homestand at Zorn Arena (Photo by Jake Seykora, UWEC)
The Blugolds start the regular season off with a two-game homestand at Zorn Arena (Photo by Jake Seykora, UWEC)

The UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team began their season with an exhibition game loss on the road against the University of Minnesota Duluth, an NCAA Division II school, by a score of 86-69.  

This loss has not shaken the team’s confidence, as it has proven to be a good learning experience for the upcoming regular season. 

“We played extremely hard,” head coach Matt Siverling said. “We’re really trying to get after teams defensively. And offensively push the pace, put a lot of pressure on defense.”

The Blugolds won 17 games last season. Siverling said they aim to build off of last season and continue to grow. 

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“It depends on the players that we have and how they respond to their new roles. “We’ve got some guys now that have been in the program for a few years,” Siverling said. “It’s their turn to step into some new roles. If they’re able to handle those things, hopefully, we can continue in the right direction.”

Siverling also said that consistency is important to the team’s game plan this season. 

“We’re staying pretty consistent to what we did last year. We were able to have some success with those things, and the guys really enjoy playing the way that they’re playing.”

The biggest change, Siverling said, is personnel. 

Five players have left the team due to graduation and it falls to new key players such as fourth-year guards Nolan Blair and Cade Hall to fill their shoes.

Blair said that while the team lost in the exhibition game, there were some positive results.

“As far as the way we started the game, I think it was a good start,” Blair said. “I think the way we just shared the ball and moved the ball offensively; it was good to see.”

However, no loss is without its cons. 

“Obviously we still need some work,” Blair said. “Rebounding on the defensive end and getting out to shoot from the three-point line.”

Hall said there is only so much one can do against a Division II opponent. 

“As a team, I thought we played really well in the first half. We just competed, we brought some good energy, hit some shots. I thought we looked really well,” Hall said. “I think we learned a lot playing against a better team, seeing where we’re at.”

Blair said due to last year’s graduations, he knows he and the other seniors are going to have to step up and be someone the team can rely on.

“I’m looking to stay more consistent,” Hall said. “Finding ways to help win a game, rebounding, scoring, really trying to impact the game in different ways.”

Team chemistry is also an important aspect of every team going into a new season. So far, the Blugolds are in a very good spot according to Blair.

“The chemistry is great. The mindset is that we’re just going to keep getting better,” Hall said. “The morale is great, lighthearted, joking around a lot, laughing a lot. But we’re pretty focused all at the same time.”

The Blugolds start the regular season off with a two-game homestand at Zorn Arena, beginning against St. Norbert this Saturday at 1 p.m. and Saint John’s next Tuesday with tip-off at 7 p.m.


Teske can be reached at [email protected]

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