Basketball stays hot, advances to Sweet 16


John Hynst

#33 Trevon Chislom shoots mid-range jumper in game against UW-River Falls in the Kachel Fieldhouse on Feb. 20

Chris Pittner, Men’s Sports journalist

This weekend, the UW-Whitewater Men’s Basketball team (23-7, 9-5) punched their ticket to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament with wins versus Wabash College, and the 8th ranked team in the country Case Western Reserve. The second game came as a huge upset, as Case Western was the host and expected to move on.

This marks the second top 15 win for the Warhawks in the last seven days, as they also took down No. 11 UW-Oshkosh the previous Sunday, 92-79 on the road.

The game against Wabash was one of the more intriguing matchups in the tournament. Both of the squads headed into that game won their conference tournaments, with the Wabash Little Giants (21-8, 11-5) securing the NCAC bid, and Whitewater securing the WIAC bid. Both teams came in with the same record of 21-7 and D3Hoops considered this game a toss up, meaning it could go either way. 

#15 Delvin Barnstable drives baseline in game against UW-River Falls in the Kachel Fieldhouse on Feb. 20
(John Hynst)

The game started slow offensively for both sides, rather uncharacteristic for the Warhawks, as the first half score was only 33-30 in favor of Wabash. Whitewater trailed by as many as eight in the first half at 28-20, and the Warhawks shot only 36% from the field in the first half. 

The real issue of the first half, for both sides, however, was fouls. There were a total of 25 fouls committed by both teams, as a result, top players for both squads had to sit on the bench for extended periods. For the Warhawks, Elijah Lambert picked up three, Trevon Chislom, Miles Barnstable, JT Hoytink, and Carter Capstran all picked up two fouls in the first half, with Barnstable having to sit around the last 10 minutes of the first half. 

“Both teams had to manage, their leading scorer sat for extended minutes, the game became physical early, it was just something we had to manage with,” Whitewater head coach Pat Miller said.

Starting off the second half, the offense, led by Miles Barnstable, exploded. Miles, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored 26 second half points to lead the Warhawk offense. Miles, the second leading scorer throughout the season, was the Warhawk who was able to step up when the team needed it most. 

“I just stayed locked in, stayed focused, I sat for an extended period of time in the first, I just had to stay locked in and the bigs were setting lots of screens and I stayed focused,” Miles Barnstable said. 

#25 Drew Fisher drives to the basket in game against UW-River Falls in the Kachel Fieldhouse on Feb. 20 (John Hynst)

With Miles taking the game over in the second half, the rest of the offense followed suit. Chislom added 17 points of his own, including shooting 10-12 from the free-throw line. Jameer Barker added 15 points, 10 of those in the second half. Lambert added 10 points of his own and reached double figures with some drives and cuts to the basket. 

“We did not execute well in the first half, they did a good job clogging the lane, we got them spread out by hitting a couple of threes, it helped our cause and opened up the game overall,” Miller said. 

Miller echoes the sentiment time and time again that hitting a few threes and making the other team respect your deep ball opens up the whole offense, as the opponent is forced to guard the perimeter as well as the interior.

The Warhawks took down the Little Giants 90-83 to move on to the second round where they played the host team, No. 8 Case Western Reserve (22-4).

The Warhawks would be major underdogs, but they have shown throughout the season that means nothing, taking down multiple giants in the WIAC such as Oshkosh and UW-La Crosse.

Whitewater knew that stopping the CWRU offense would be essential, as they averaged over 86 points per game, led by Mitch Prendergast with over 17 ppg, and Cole Frilling, scoring just under 16 ppg. 

Whitewater entered halftime with a four point lead, 38-34, off the hot hand from beyond the arc. In this first half they managed to come out of the gates hot, and shoot 7-14 from three in the first half. They also knew slowing the Spartans down would be essential, and they held them to around 44% shooting in the first half.

#15 Delvin Barnstable goes up for a dunk in game against UW-River Falls in the Kachel Fieldhouse on Feb. 20 ( John Hynst)

The second half brought on more points scored for both sides, however, the shooting percentages dipped across the board, with both teams shooting under 40% from the field. Miles Barnstable and Chislom came up huge in this game, as they scored 28 and 21, respectively. Chisholm had a monster dunk with 41 seconds left that put Whitewater up seven, and essentially put the game out of reach for CWRU. Barnstable in this game made his name from the three point line where he was 6-12. 

Defensively, the Warhawks allowed Prendergast to score 24 points, but his efficiency was spotty, shooting 8-24, around 10 percentage points lower than his usual 43%. Cole Frilling, their second leading scorer, was held to only nine points on 2-10 shooting. 

Despite the 78-75 win, the Warhawks were not perfect. Barker had to sit for the last minute after fouling out, and JT Hoytink committed a turnover that allowed CWRU back within three with 20 seconds left. 

“Every game is different, we have to evaluate, we knew going in they were going to be physical, there was some carelessness down the stretch. The rest is scouting and figuring out the other team,” Miller said. 

Next up for Whitewater is the Sweet 16. They travel to Ashland, Virginia, to play No. 11 Johns Hopkins University. With a win in this game the Warhawks would advance to the Elite 8 where they could end up facing off against the consensus number one team in the country and host of this mini regional, the Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets. Tipoff versus Johns Hopkins is slated for Friday, March 10, 3 p.m.