You are currently viewing historical information.
-> Return to current season <-
While we strive to provide accurate historical information, there may be some inaccuracies. If you find errors, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a source of proof (newspaper, yearbook, etc.) to support your claim.
Blugolds Set To Host 36th Annual Holiday Classic
Posted: Monday, December 27, 2004
EAU CLAIRE - The stage at W.L. Zorn Arena is set for the 36th annual UW-Eau Claire Holiday Classic Men's Basketball Tournament, beginning Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. and running through Thursday night. The Eau Claire men's basketball team will look for its sixth straight Holiday Classic title against Luther (IA), St. Olaf (MN), and Lakeland.
The action begins Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. when Lakeland battles St. Olaf before the Blugolds hit the court against Luther at 8:00 p.m. The third place game will be held Thursday at 6:00 p.m. with the championship finale held at 8:00 p.m.
The Eau Claire Holiday Classic has had a tradition of great hospitality, exceptional competition and outstanding sportsmanship. It has provided a contrast in styles of play and showcased the top college division teams from various parts of the country.
The Blugolds bring a 6-3 record into the Classic and are fresh off an 86-70 victory over Finlandia (MI), avenging an earlier 94-93 heartbreaker to the Lions. Eau Claire currently carries a three-game win streak with victories over the Lions, UW-La Crosse, and UW-Oshkosh. The Blugolds have not lost a game at the Classic since the championship game of the 1998 tourney, when Mount Senario earned a 73-70 victory over the Blugolds for the title. Since the 1998 championship loss, the Blugolds have won 10 straight Holiday Classic games, including championship game victories over Gustavus Adolphus (1999), Buena Vista (2000), North Central (2001), Sioux Falls (2002), and last year's 52-46 win over Viterbo.
Eau Claire brings a scoring average of nearly 72 points per game into the Classic, led by a trio of returning seniors. Casey Drake (Sr.-Rhinelander) leads the team with 16.6 points per game with Dan Archambault (Sr.-Oshkosh/West) right behind him at 16.3 points per game. Will Jefferson (Sr.-Wausau/East) is third on the roster with 12.4 points per contest. The same three seniors also lead the team in assists. Drake is first with 31 assists, Jefferson second with 28 and Archambault third with 26.
Newcomer Dan Beyer (Fr.-Waukesha/Catholic Memorial) has had a solid season in his first year as a Blugold and is tied for second on the team with 4.9 rebounds per game. Kale Proksch (Jr.-Chaseburg/Westby) leads the team with 5.0 rebounds per game while Buck Smith (Jr.-Superior) is also tied for second with 4.9.
In Eau Claire's first game of the tournament, the Blugolds will battle Luther for the first time since the 1947-48 season. The Blugolds are 9-3 all-time against the Norse but have lost the last two contests.
None of the three visiting teams at this year's tournament have ever taken place in the Holiday Classic. Luther brings a 2-5 record into the Classic and last saw action on December 18, a 97-83 victory over Bethany Lutheran. Luther and St. Olaf are the only teams at this year's Classic who have already met once this season, when the Oles took a 75-69 overtime victory from the Norse. Andy Rump leads Luther with 13.7 points per game while Tony Brantner is second with 10.6 points per game. Brantner also leads the team with 6.4 rebounds per game.
St. Olaf brings in the only winning record for a visiting team, as the Oles are currently 5-2 on the season, including their overtime victory against Luther. St. Olaf started the season with three straight wins, but has since gone 2-2. Jon Bain leads the Oles with 13.3 points per game and is tied for the lead with 5.9 rebounds per game. Jon Butala is also averaging 5.9 rebounds per game to go along with a team second-best 12.9 points per game.
Lakeland brings a 3-6 record into the Classic and is the only visiting team to have played against a school in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Muskies defeated UW-La Crosse but lost to both UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point. Kris Saiberlich leads Lakeland with 13.0 points per game while Nick Zeck is second with 12.2 points per game. Zeck also leads the team with 7.8 rebounds per contest.
The action is set to kick off at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday with Lakeland vs. St.