Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Titan basketball falls to Blue Devils

The UW Oshkosh men’s basketball team fell 67-74 to UW Stout on Saturday at home, slipping to 1-1 in conference and 8-5 overall. Stout, who was ranked at the bottom of the WIAC Conference in the preseason poll, has won its last seven games after a loss to Bethany Lutheran College earlier this year.

Last season, the Titans captured both games against the Blue Devils 67-42 and 66-65. John Keefe of the Blue Devils scored 25 points over the two games, leading the team.

The junior guard proved to be an even bigger problem for the Titans this year, as he scored 18 points, grabbed two rebounds, had two assists and stole the ball three times.

Titans head coach Pat Juckem gave a lot of credit to Keefe and his vision of the floor.

“He is having a terrific year,” Juckem said. “He’s impacting the game in a lot of ways. He’s a really good player and has gotten a lot better from last year.”

Sophomore Ben Ben Boots was given the job of guarding Keefe in the second half. When handed the assignment of a scorer, Boots said it’s a team effort and that communication is key.

“You have to try and keep him in front,” Boots said. “You have to keep him off of his rhythm.”

After each of the first two possessions for the Titans, senior Max Schebel was seen complaining. He let a pass into the post go out of bounds and then missed a layup. He could be heard saying “I let it go out of bounds for a reason,” and asking for a foul on his layup.

Schebel said there will be more instances in which calls won’t go his way, but he can’t let it affect his play.

“Throughout the game, throughout the entire season we will face adversity,” Schebel said. “It just one of those things. You just try to avoid next play violations where you reminisce on the previous possession.”

Junior Charlie Noone scored the first points of the game for the Titans with a lay up. Stout responded with each score up until 4-4. The next seven points for Oshkosh came from two-point conversions from senior Taylor Jansen and Schebel and a three-pointer from Boots.

Jansen has started the last four games after not starting all season. Juckem made some changes in the lineup to help improve the team including Jansen as a starter, he said.

“Taylor has been playing heavy minutes all year,” Juckem said. “He’s made a lot of winning plays in his career. He’s a senior and really versatile player.”

Jansen said he knows he’s been a key player throughout his career and attributes the starts to his hard work.

“I’ve been working really hard, Jansen said. “When coach asks for a shot, I make the most of it. It’s about taking advantage of the shots you are given.”

Stout fought back with various three-point shots from Cory Speer and Keefe. Speer’s second three-point jump shot of the run put the Blue Devils ahead 20-18.

Consecutive responding layups from senior AJ Mueller tied the game at 20 and 22. Over the next four minutes, the lead changed six times.

After taking the lead 34-32 from Keefe’s shot beyond the arc, Stout pulled away with four more points. A layup from Schebel with under a minute left brought the Titans within four, 38-34 to end the first half.

Noone attributed Stout’s first half performance to their talent, but he knows the team could have done better.

“They are a good team,” Noone said. “They are much improved from before, but we can play a lot better. That’s what we are working on. Instead of focusing on other teams we are trying to be the best version of our team.”

To start the second half, the Blue Devils racked up six more points to add to their lead. Noone stalled the run with a layup, but a handful of fouls lead to a 12 point lead for Stout. One of the fouls occurred on a three-pointer which resulted in three successful free throws from Speer.

Juckem said he knows his players are smart enough to prevent the mistakes from happening.

“We want to be tough and contest shooters but do it without fouling,” Juckem said. “That was three big points that we could have used in the end.”

After the three-point conversion, Oshkosh called a timeout. Out of the break, the play was set up for Noone to shoot a three. He missed.

On the next possession, the same play was called and the ball rattled around the rim and out. Noone, whose three-point percentage for the year is .432, made only one of eight attempted three-pointers on the night.

Noone said he doesn’t change up his style of play when his three-pointers don’t fall. He is confident in his shot because of all of the practice.

“Our whole team has a confidence in us to keep shooting,” Noone said. “We know they eventually will fall, so we keep shooting when we are open.”

Down by 14, sophomore Brett Wittchow and senior Sean Dwyer started a run to aid the Titan’s cause.

Wittchow scored two points on a layup and made both of his free throws in the next possession. Dwyer converted all four of his next free throws and followed it up with a three-pointer to pull the Titans within eight.

Senior teammate Jansen said the substitution of Dwyer off of the bench led to a big spark in the game. He said Dwyer made some big plays and grabbed rebounds for the team.

“Sean Dwyer came off of the bench,” Jansen said. “He played eight to ten minutes that were huge. He made eight big points. It changed the tide of the game.”

With four and a half minutes left in the game, Noone scored on a layup and Boots sunk both free throws after being fouled. Schebel secured two consecutive defensive rebounds and the Titans were given the opportunity to close the gap to two points with a foul, but Dwyer missed both free throws.

Two other scoring opportunities for the Titans were squandered with a turnover after 30 solid seconds of defense and a defensive rebound that found its way out of bounds.

Knowing the rebounding ability of Stout, Juckem was aware his team had to defend well.

“We’ve got to finish off possessions; force them to miss a shot and only give them one,” Juckem said. “It’s a little demoralizing. You gaurd for 30 seconds and force them to miss a shot, but then you don’t go and get the rebound.”

Boots fouled Keefe with a little over two minutes left. Down by six, Wittchow responded with a three-pointer to close the gap 68-65.

Oshkosh called a timeout to collect themselves. Schebel once again grabbed the rebound which resulted in two points from Wittchow on the opposite end.

John Lahti of Stout responded with two points of his own to lead by three. In the following possession, the play was set up for Noone. The three-pointer, to tie the game, didn’t fall through. After a foul, steal, and layup, the Blue Devils ran away with the win.

Lahti lead Stout in points scored with 20.

Boots speculated all of the focus on Keefe may have opened up scoring opportunities for other players, like Lahti.

“Sometimes it happens,” Boots said. “It’s a lack of us manning up and getting a stop.”

Leading scorers for the Titans were Wittchow with 19 points and Noone with 11. Schebel secured six rebounds and Jansen and Wittchow each had four. Boots and Wittchow were 100-percent from the free throw line, and Dwyer made four of six. Both Schebel and Wittchow had three assists and Boots lead the team with two steals.

The Titans face off against UW-Platteville on Wednesday. Platteville is 0-2 in conference and has fallen to both Stout and River Falls.

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