Men’s basketball falls to 25th-ranked UW-Whitewater

By: Morgan Van Lanen () and Mike Johrendt ()

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh men’s basketball team fell to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in a 67-73 thriller on Wednesday night at home.

Although head coach Pat Juckem said the team is disappointed in losing to one of its biggest rivals, the atmosphere of the game and the attendance made for an exciting match.

“We had a great crowd tonight,” Juckem said. “We are really thankful and appreciative of the people from campus and from the community. I just think of where we were a couple of years ago when there was nobody here. It’s a testament to how we’ve grown our program and just the interest in how our guys’ play.”

Whitewater won the tip to start the game. Junior forward Scotty Tyler hit a three-pointer to put the Warhawks up 3-0. 32 seconds later, Junior guard Woodley Demetrius added a lay-up to make the score 5-0.

Max Schebel responded with a lay-up of his own to make the score 2-5 with 18:47 to go in the first half. However, a UWW layup from junior guard Chris Jones gave the Warhawks another five-point lead.

Shot clock problems stalled the game for about five minutes early in the first half.

Soon after the problems were resolved, senior guard Taylor Jansen added two points from the free throw line with 17:35 to go to make the score 4-7. However, a jumper from Tyler put the Warhawks up by five points again.

Sophomore guard Derek Rongstad contributed a three-pointer to give UWW a lead of eight with 16:30 remaining.

With less than four minutes into the first half, there were already a combined eight fouls between the two teams. Two of the Titans’ four points came from free throws earned from fouls.

With 14:58 to go, Jones grabbed another three points for his team to make the score 17-6.

20 seconds later, a missed three-pointer by junior guard Charlie Noone led to a rebound by Rongstad who passed the ball to senior guard Drew Bryson for another lay-up. The Titans called a timeout with 14:39 to go until halftime as they trailed 6-19.

Woodley got called for a travel which led to UWO receiving possession. Senior forward AJ Mueller then added a lay-up for the Titans to pull the team within 11.

Mueller, who contributed ten points off the bench, said that the bench contribution is key for them in every game.

“Our starters are out there to begin, and they do a great job for us,” Mueller said. “But, when we come in, we just try to do our best. Coach always says to be great, everyone just has to be good, so we just try to play within ourselves and play good basketball.”

Sophomore guard Mitchell Pfeifer added a three-pointer with 12:18 to go. 43 seconds later Pfeifer assisted Scotty in another three-pointer to put the Warhawks up 25-8.

Sophomore guard Ben Boots added a three-pointer of his own and some momentum for his team to make the score 11-27. Noone also contributed a three-pointer with 8:21 to go.

Jones added two points from the free-throw line for the Warhawks after the Titans held UWW to no scoring for almost three minutes.

Senior guard Taylor Jansen responded with a lay-up. However, a three-pointer from Scotty just seconds later gave the Warhawks a 31-16 lead.

An assist from sophomore guard Kyle Beyak to Noone pulled the Titans within 12.

With 1:27 to go in the first half, Bryson added another two points off an assist from sophomore guard Andre Brown to give UWW a 17-point lead. Mueller responded with a layup with 17 seconds to go off an assist from Schebel.

The Titans entered halftime trailing 25-40. UWO shot 35.7-percent from the field, while UWW made 59.3-percent of its field goals. The Warhawks completed 7-10 attempted three-pointers, while UWO shot just 3-10. Oshkosh gave up six turnovers while Whitewater gave up three.

Mueller said that when the team cut the deficit down to single digits, their discipline was what brought them back into the game.

“We cut harder and separated our screens better than in the first half,” Mueller said. “We like to play physical basketball and that was what we were able to do to get it back to single digits.”

Noone led the Titans at half, going 3-8 from the field and 2-6 from the three-point range.

Noone put points on the board first for the Titans in the second half with a lay-up 17 seconds in. Boots grabbed another three points with an assistant from Jansen to pull the Titans within 13. A jumper by Jones put the Warhawks back up by 15.

Schebel contributed two points on an assist from sophomore guard Brett Wittchow with 16:34 to go. A lay-up from Jansen shrunk the Whitewater lead to 11.

A Jack Flynn rebound lead to a Mueller two-pointer to pull the Titans within nine.

Jansen went to the free-throw line and made two to pull the Titans within nine again.

Woodley added five points to Whitewater’s score within 51 seconds to give the Warhawks a 15-point lead.

Wittchow grabbed an offensive rebound off a shot by Mueller and put up two points to pull the Titans within 13.

Noone shot a three-pointer with 10:25 remaining in the second half to make the score 45-56. Senior forward Sean Dwyer added his own three-pointer with 9:30 to go.

Jones contributed two points to the Warhawks score to make it a 12-point game. Boots added a lay-up with 7:10 remaining to pull his team within ten.

Noone put-up a three pointer that hit the backboard and into the hands of Wittchow. Wittchow then made a lay-up to make the score 52-62 with 6:04 remaining.

27 seconds later, Boots added a three-pointer to pull the Titans within seven. With 2:42 to go, Boots contributed another three-points to make the score 58-66.

Wittchow went 2-2 at the free throw line to pull the Titans within eight with 1:50 to go. Boots shot another three-pointer with 1:33 remaining, as the Titans trailed by just six.

Jones went to the free-throw line with 1:16 to go in the game and went 0-2.

Whitewater dribbled the ball to the corner of the court as time expired.

Wittchow said that being able to play a team of the caliber that Whitewater is towards the beginning of conference play helps with team development.

“It is huge,” Wittchow said. “We get to face a good team every single game in the WIAC conference. It helps prepare us for the WIAC tournament and further on into the NCAA tournament.”

The Titans will face fifth-ranked UW-River Falls at home on Saturday at home at 7 p.m.

Juckem said his team looks forward to bringing the momentum from Wednesday’s game into practice to prepare for the Falcons, a team that is 5-0 in WIAC play this season.

“Our guys are a high-character bunch,” Juckem said. “They’ll come back ready to go tomorrow and we’ll go and attack the practice and get better.”