Titans upset Warhawks

Nate Proell

UWO center Jack Flynn shoots a basket on Saturday. In 18 minutes off the bench, Flynn made 4 shots for 9 points.
[/media-credit] UWO center Jack Flynn shoots a basket on Saturday. In 18 minutes off the bench, Flynn made 4 shots for 9 points.

The UW Oshkosh men’s basketball team improved their conference record to 8-5 and is now in a three-way tie for second place after defeating last place UW-Platteville Pioneers at home 77-69 and the UW-Whitewater Warhawks in Whitewater by a score of 67-63.

On Saturday, the Titans came away with a 77-69 victory in their final home game of the regular season against the WIAC last-place Pioneers.

The Titans had their best shooting performance of the season, shooting 55.1 percent on the night and scoring their highest total of the season.

“You gotta defend your home court,” Titans’ sophomore guard Ben Boots said. “We haven’t done a great job of it this year so we were happy to get that one.”

Saturday was also senior night, where Sean Dwyer, AJ Mueller, Max Schebel, Taylor Jansen and Tyrone Moore were recognized for their accomplishments the past four years as part of head coach Pat Juckem’s first ever recruiting class at Oshkosh.

“They’re a special group,” Juckem said. “They’ve been foundation pieces. They’re a great group of guys, really good students, class individuals and good role models.”

With all five seniors starting the game, Platteville struck first with a 3-pointer from the Pioneers leading scorer of the night, Robert Durax, to take an early lead over the Titans.

Senior guard Taylor Jansen answered for the Titans with a layup that put the score at 2-3; however, the Titans let 10 unanswered points go by, and with 14:42 in the first half, they were trailing 13-2.

A jump shot from the Pioneers’ Colin Kamper tied the game up at 18-18. A jump shot from Flynn then gave the Titans the lead again 20-18, and the Titans never looked back.

At halftime the Titans were up 36-28 and were shooting 53.8 percent overall with Titans’ guard Ben Boots leading the way with nine points, all from beyond the arc.

In the second half the Titans kept extending their lead as Max Schebel struck first with a dunk, putting the team at 38-28.

At 9:41 in the second half the Pioneers were gaining on the Titans after a layup from Carter put Platteville within eight points of UWO at 55-47.

Oshkosh answered with a layup from Schebel, but the Pioneers were quick to an eight-point unanswered run that put them within three points of the Titans’ 57-54 lead with 7:51 remaining in the game.

By the two-minute mark, UWO was up 71-61.

A foul from Pioneers guard Harold Fay on Brett Wittchow brought him to the line where he was able to make a free throw to bring the Titans lead to the eventual final score of 77-69.

Dwyer said the win felt good and had the feeling of a true team victory.

“Our whole team was being a family,” Dwyer said. “We are a team, not just a group of individual players.”

Schebel said it was a good feeling winning the last regular season home game, and doing it as part of Juckem’s original class.

“There’s a good sense of pride,” Schebel said. “He obviously didn’t recruit just the five of us. We stuck through it and we’ve been pivotal parts in building something here.”

On Wednesday, the Titans defeated Whitewater at a game where the Warhawks had the lead for more than half the game.

The last time the two teams met, the Warhawks had a 19-point lead by the half, a lead coach Juckem said was too much for his team to overcome and something he said his team could not allow to happen a second time.

“We’ve looked at making sure that we’re just tough on the ball and really more of an attacking mindset,” Juckem said. “I thought we were a little too cautious early on.”

The Warhawks seemed to be off to another fast start after scoring six unanswered points early on; however, the Titans were quick to get back into the game, being down only 7-8 at 14:47 in the first half.

By halfway through the first half, the Warhawks had a 17-13 lead. By halftime the Warhawks had a 26-31 lead in a half where the Titans never had the lead.

In the second half, the Warhawks struck first with a jump shot from Chris Jones. A layup from Demetrius Woodley extended the Warhawks’ lead to 26-35 the Titans struck back with a Schebel layup.

However, the Warhawks kept scoring, and the Titans weren’t answering, and by 15:11 in the second the score was 30-41.

Despite the Titans being behind, they were quick to get back into the game, starting with a 3-pointer from Noone that began a nine-point Titans run that brought them within one point of the Warhawks.

Whitewater answered with a layup, but after two made free throws from Boots and a layup from Adam Fravert, the Titans had their first lead of the game 44-43 with 9:22 left to play.

At the two minute mark, the Titans had a one point lead at 56-55.

Two made free throws from Whitewater’s Chris Jones put the Warhawks up 56-57, but a layup from Schebel gave the Titans the lead again at 58-57.

A made free throw from Whitewater’s Jones tied the game at 58-58 with 1:04 remaining, but a Boots layup gave the Titans a 60-58 lead.

The Titans scored seven more points and held the Warhawks to five points for the remainder of the game, bringing the final score to 67-63.

The Titans have one more regular season game at UW-Stout on Saturday, Feb. 18. Tipoff is set for 3:00 p.m.