Headline: Titans wallop Whitewater in only game of week

Cory Sparks, Sports Editor

Courtesy of April Lee | Rebounding and draining three-pointers have been two huge components when it comes to whether the Titans win a game or not this
year. The Titans are averaging 42 rebounds per game in wins and 31 rebounds per game in losses. They’re also making 50% of their
three pointers in wins compared to only 41% in losses.

The UW Oshkosh men’s basketball team decisively beat UW-Whitewater 78-59 in Whitewater last Friday to move into second place in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference east division with a 2-1 record.

The Titans never trailed in the only game against the Warhawks — Wednesday’s game was canceled due to COVID-19 complications — and they were led in scoring by senior guard Eddie Muench who had 25 points while shooting 11-for-16 from the field and three-for-six behind the three-point line.

The team’s ability to find their identity has allowed them to ride a two-game winning streak after dropping their first game of the season against UW-Platteville by a score of 88-75 on Feb. 3.

“Our guys have done a great job of figuring out who we are. We are a tough, selfless group that invests a ton of time into each other,” head coach Matt Lewis said.

As a team, Oshkosh outshot Whitewater from the field 53% to 41%, and Whitewater did not make a single three-pointer in 15 attempts. The Titans also decisively outrebounded the Warhawks 39-27 and won the assists battle 12-4.

The team’s scoring depth has been its main strength over the course of the first three games. Against Whitewater, six different Oshkosh players put up at least six points. The ability to operate with a pass-first mentality has helped the Titans in being able to spread the high scoring numbers across the roster.

“We really like our depth and that every guy on our team wants to win,” Lewis said. “They recognize that each of them is talented and capable of scoring, but we are at our best when we play unselfishly and share the basketball.”

As a result of this depth, Oshkosh is shooting a WIAC second-best 48% from the field and a WIAC best 46.5% from behind the three-point line.

Lewis has also admired the team’s ability to come back and perform well after not playing a game against an opposing school in almost a calendar year. He understands and is impressed by each athlete’s ability to juggle their school responsibilities with the uncertainty of playing a college sport during a pandemic.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 11 months since we were sent home from school in March 2020,” Lewis said. “The pandemic has altered our normal routine for in-and-out of season.”

Although the team currently possesses a winning record at 2-1, limiting turnovers has been an issue that Lewis is looking to refine. Oshkosh is averaging 16 turnovers a game through its first three games of competition, which is the most of any team in the WIAC.

“We must take care of the basketball. In our three games, we have had loose, unforced turnovers that have led to too many turnovers in each game,” Lewis said. “We must adjust and be stronger with the basketball.”

The team is last in the WIAC with a turnover margin of -6.33.

Oshkosh played a game on Wednesday on UW-Stevens Point’s home court, and the results can be found on the UWO athletics page.

The team has a home game tomorrow in its second of two games against Stevens Point before wrapping up its regular season with games against UW-Eau Claire on Feb. 24 and Feb. 26.

Lewis acknowledges that the team has a couple of key points of emphasis to hone in on in order to finish the last four games out strong before the WIAC tournament commences in March.

“It’s only been three games, but we have learned a lot about ourselves,” Lewis said. “We know that we must protect the lane and finish plays if we want to be successful. We have to continue to focus on this each and every day.”