The turnover bug plagued Evansville’s boys basketball team Friday night.
The Blue Devils turned the ball over 16 times in a 55-47 nonconference home loss to Oregon.
Ethan Victorson had a game-high 22 points to lead Oregon, which used an 8-0 run midway through the second half to pull away.
Senior Zach Mielke had 21 points for Evansville, which cut a 10-point halftime deficit to two with 11:31 to play, but a rash of empty possessions doomed the Blue Devils.
“As a team, I thought we came together,” Evansville co-head coach Ron Grovesteen said. “It’s only our second game, and we’re a young team.
“But anytime you play a Badger Conference team, you know they’re going to come after you and play physical. We have to learn to adjust to that.”
Evansville (1-1) shut out the visitors for the first eight minutes of the second half to trim a 31-21 deficit to 31-29.
Oregon, however, responded with an 8-0 run of its own to push the lead back to 10. Victorson had six of the eight points, including a 3-pointer with 10:03 play that gave the Panthers their first point of the second half.
The Blue Devils got no closer than six the rest of the way.
“We got it within two, but we couldn’t make that bucket to get us over the hump,” Evansville co-head coach Kendall Buttchen said.
“I thought we did a better job of freeing up our wing play the second half, and that’s what we need to do. We want to be an inside-outside team and not have to rely on one or the other.”
The Panthers seemed to take control late in the first half thanks to a 10-3 run. Victorson, who had 12 points in the first half, scored on a putback with 1:20 left to make it 29-19.
Evansville was only 9-for-26 from the field in the first half and committed seven turnovers. Mielke had 10 points for the Blue Devils to keep them within striking distance.
Sulley Geske had 12 points for Evansville, but no other player had more than six.
Oregon also benefited from seven 3-point baskets to just two for Evansville.
The Blue Devils open Rock Valley Conference play at Clinton on Thursday night.
OREGON 55, EVANSVILLE 47
Oregon (55)—Er. Victorson 1-0-3, Burrell 3-3-9, Weiland 2-0-5, Erickson 1-0-3, Blanke 2-0-5, Look 2-3-8, Et. Victorson 7-6-22. Totals: 18-12-55.
Evansville (47)—Maag 2-0-4, Deming 2-0-6, Updike 1-0-2, Geske 4-4-12, Mielke 9-3-21, Wardwell 1-0-2. Totals: 19-7-47.
Oregon 31 24—55
Evansville 21 26—47
Three-point goals—Oregon 7 (Et. Victorson 2, Er. Victorson, Weiland, Erickson, Blanke, Look), Evansville 2 (Deming 2). Free throws missed—Oregon 8, Evansville 4. Total fouls—Oregon 16, Evansville 16.