Basketball falls short after strong open


Caryana Dominguez

UW-Whitewater players huddle-up around coach, Pat Miller, while on a time-out at the game versus UW-Oshkosh, at the Williams Center.

Chris Pittner, Journalist

In a highly anticipated matchup versus No. 19 UW-Oshkosh (18-5, 11-1), UW-Whitewater (16-7, 7-5) suffered a heartbreaking 72-68 loss at the hands of the Titans. This win secured Oshkosh at least a share of the WIAC title.

Coming into the game, Oshkosh was the top defense in the WIAC, only allowing around 60 points per game, and Whitewater was the top scoring offense, scoring over 80 points per game. Oshkosh was led in scoring and rebounding by Levi Borchert, and his 10.9 rebounds per game were at the top of the conference. Hunter Plamann also led the conference in 3-point makes coming into the game. 

Whitewater started the game hot, they led for all but 2 minutes and 21 seconds of the first half, their lead had ballooned to as wide as a 34-23 margin. In the first half, sophomore guard Jameer Barker and junior forward Trevon Chislom came out on fire, scoring in double figures in the first half. The duo combined for 23 of the teams 36 points in the first half. By halftime, the lead sat at seven, 36-29.

When asked about the first half performance, Warhawk head coach Pat Miller said, “what we talked about after the game was how good our first half performance was, both offensively and defensively.” In the first half, Whitewater shot the ball well, around 52%, and held Oshkosh to around 42%. 

Throughout the game, the Warhawks struggled with foul trouble. Both freshman guard Miles Barnstable and junior forward Delvin Barnstable struggled during the game, as they both had two fouls before halftime, and Miles Barnstable picked up his fourth with over 10 minutes left to play, meaning he had to take a seat on the bench to ensure that he did not foul out. 

Due to the large number of fouls, Oshkosh ended up with six more free throw attempts than the Warhawks. The Titans converted 10 of their 18 attempts, the Warhawks converted 7 of their 12.

Another area of struggle for Whitewater was getting open looks from beyond the arc. Whitewater only attempted 12 threes, and converted three of them, one by Miles Barnstable and one by Chislom. 

In the second half, Oshkosh guard Quinn Steckbauer asserted himself and finished with a 20 point game, shooting 7-13 from the field and 2-4 from beyond the arc. Jonah Rindfleisch had a very efficient game for Oshkosh as well, finishing with 13 points and 6-8 shooting. Oshkosh was able to shoot around 63 percent in the second half, which ultimately helped them secure the win in the end.

Whitewater was held without a made FG for the final 3:34 of the game.

Overall,  Miller was impressed with the effort put forth from the team against a ranked opponent. 

“I thought in the second half we weren’t quite as good defensively and we just missed some shots, but I told them we are progressing, we are certainly getting better,” Miller said. “Today was another good example of us making progress, and having an opportunity to win the game.” 

Whitewater controlled the interior as Elijah Lambert and Chislom both contributed nine rebounds, and Chislom had 5 offensive boards. Miller also spoke highly on the preparation they took coming into the big game.

“Overall I was really pleased with how they prepared for this game, the intensity, and made a point as teams mature and get better, that’s the intensity and preparation you have to take into every game,” Miller said.

The Warhawks capped off the week with an overtime victory on the road against UW-Stout. Whitewater trailed by 12 at halftime but forced overtime which enabled them to go on to win 94-88. 

In the regular season finale the Warhawks will host the UW-Platteville Pioneers Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. Whitewater will look to avenge an 85-65 defeat at the hands of the Pioneers back in January. With a win, and some help, the Warhawks could finish as high as second in the WIAC but with a loss they could drop down to fifth.

UW-Whitewater players huddle-up around coach, Pat Miller, while on a time-out at the game versus UW-Oshkosh, at the Williams Center. (Caryana Dominguez)