Things hadn’t been going very well lately for the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh men’s basketball program.
But by the time Titans junior guard Jade Royston finished serving up a little home cooking on Saturday, the Oshkosh contingent was all smiles.
Royston poured in 26 points — including 13 of his team’s 17 points in overtime — to seal a 64-54 victory over Edgewood College on the second day of the two-day, four-team “Jam the JAG” Kickoff Classic, held at JustAGame Fieldhouse.
The victory ended an 18-game losing streak dating back to the 2011-2012 season for the Titans.
Making the victory even sweeter for Royston was the fact that his parents, David and Joy — who own and operate the JustAGame building — were able to watch their son play like a champion in the facility that they built.
“It was a pretty good thing for the family, Dad especially,” said Kyler Royston, Jade’s older brother and a manager at the fieldhouse.
“It was cool because in high school, he’d always be that crazy parent up in the stands, yelling at me whenever I did something stupid,” Jade Royston said.
“At Oshkosh, I can’t hear him too much because he sits up higher.
“But at JustAGame, he was sitting right behind the hoops, coaching me just about every time down the court. It felt just like coming home.”
Royston — who spent last summer working with Kyler selling advertising signage for the walls and stands at JustAGame — made eight of 18 field-goal attempts and nine of 10 free throws on the night.
During the overtime period against Edgewood, he made five of six shots in overtime, including 1 of 2 tries from three-point range, converted two layups into three-point plays and sank all four of his free throws.
“When things are going right like that, it seems like the hoop is 10 times bigger than it normally is,” Royston said. “We got a couple of mismatches and got out on the fast break and I started feeling good.
“When I get in the zone like that, I get the attitude that nothing’s going to stop me. I guess I should do that more often.”
Royston was impressed with the large contingent of Wisconsin Dells people who spent part of their weekend at the fieldhouse — thanks in part to a promotion that offered $2 tickets to area residents.
“At Oshkosh, you don’t see too many Dells people, maybe just a few making a special trip,” Royston said. “But here, seeing all these people and all these family members, it made me feel at home. It made it feel a lot more special.”
Oshkosh (1-2 overall) opened the tournament on Friday with a 66-53 loss to Ripon College. Royston had 14 points, three rebounds and two assists in that loss.
Kyler Royston said more than 400 fans attended the Friday games at JustAGame, and the crowd was only a little smaller on Saturday — the first day of gun deer hunting season and the day of the Wisconsin Badgers’ big football game against Ohio State.
In the other tournament games, UW-La Crosse beat Ripon, 81-57, and Edgewood, 67-54.
JustAGame has four additional collegiate tournaments planned this season, including one that will bring Jade Royston and the Titans back to town next month:
• JustAGame Winter Classic, Dec. 18-19: Ashford University, Viterbo University, Lakeland College and Lawrence University men’s teams.
• JustAGame Christmas Shootout, Dec. 20-21: Lakeland, John Carroll University, Dakota Wesleyan and Ashford women’s teams.
• JustAGame Holiday Classic, Dec. 27-28: UW-La Crosse, Ripon, UW-Stevens Point and Milwaukee School of Engineering women’s teams.
• JustAGame Holiday Classic, Dec. 29-30: UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stout, Loras College and Concordia University Wisconsin men’s teams.