Men’s Basketball finishes bottom

Equan+Ards+dunks+the+ball+for+the+Warhawks+at+Kachel+Fieldhouse.

Dane Sheehan

Equan Ards dunks the ball for the Warhawks at Kachel Fieldhouse.

Kyle Olson, Journalist

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater men’s basketball season wrapped up with a loss to UW-Stout on Sunday, Feb. 22, capping off a difficult run in 2019-20.

Whitewater finished with an overall record of 7-18 including 2-12 in conference play, ending the season tied for last place in the WIAC.

“It was a tough year. We knew going into the year, losing six seniors and as much playing time and productivity as we did that we were going to have some challenges. We knew we were playing a lot of new guys, we were playing a lot of young guys and throughout the course of the year we showed spirits and flashes of being very good,” said Head Coach Pat Miller. “I think at the end of the day, a couple of things were difficult for us to overcome.”

The Warhawks started the season off well, winning two of their first three games but couldn’t keep that up for long. They struggled at home, winning only one of 11 home games at Kachel Fieldhouse.

“Our lack of consistency was our main problem,” said Coach Miller. “And just our inability to score. We were outscored significantly from the 3-point line against our opponents throughout the year.”

The team struggled offensively, especially at the fast pace of WIAC play. They also lacked an offensive attack that generated 3-point shots, making only 29 percent from downtown.

Towards the end of the season, Whitewater started to look towards the future of the program. With a fairly young team, the coaching staff started to evaluate the bottom of the bench.

There were some positives to look at coming out of this season for Whitewater. The Warhawks were competitive in their games with 12 of their 18 losses on the season being within two possessions or less.

The season saw the offensive ascendance of Equan Ards, who in the final game of the season, broke the Whitewater single game scoring record with 49 points in the loss to UW-Stout. The transfer from Iowa Lakes Community College was the WIAC’s leading scorer with  21.2 points/game. He came in as a raw talent, but acclimated quickly and ended up being the focal point for the offense.

Even after a tough season, the experience of playing basketball for Whitewater for some of these players was something they will never forget.

“I’m glad I chose this college,” said senior guard Ricky Spicer Jr. “My dad went here also, so that was part of the reason why I wanted to come here. But now that I actually came here and experienced it for myself, it’s been great. I love the campus, I love the environment, and I just feel like everybody likes each other here. You’re always going to remember those four years with the people that you created bonds with on the court.”

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