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Titans To Host Falcons In Nationally Ranked Matchup

Titans To Host Falcons In Nationally Ranked Matchup

UW-Oshkosh hosts defending WIAC champion UW-River Falls in a matchup of nationally ranked men's basketball teams on Saturday (Jan. 13). Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. in Kolf Sports Center.

UW-River Falls (11-2, 2-1 WIAC) enters the contest ranked seventh in the NCAA Division III by while UW-Oshkosh (12-2, 2-1) lists 13th. Saturday's game will be the first in which the Titans and Falcons have both been ranked since the poll debuted during the 1999-2000 season.

UW-Oshkosh has split its last six meetings with the Falcons over the past two seasons. UW-River Falls captured two of the three matchups last season, including a 60-59 decision during the final of last year's WIAC Championship in River Falls. The Titans, who won two of their three games against the Falcons during the 2015-16 season, defeated UW-River Falls, 66-63, in the final of the 2016 WIAC Championship in Oshkosh.

The Titans, who average a league-leading 15.6 assists per game, rank second in the WIAC with 78.7 points per game while the Falcons are fourth at 74.5. UW-Oshkosh, which ranks third in the country with a +12.6 rebounding margin, has out-rebounded all but one of its opponents this season.

Each of the five UW-Oshkosh starters are averaging better than 10 points per game.

Ben Boots leads the Titans with 14.6 points and 1.2 steals per contest while pacing the conference with 4.4 assists per game, a 2.65 assist-to-turnover ratio and an .875 free throw percentage.

UW-Oshkosh's starting unit also includes Adam Fravert with 13.6 points per game, Jack Flynn at 13.2, Brett Wittchow at 11.5 and Charlie Noone at 10.5.

Fravert is averaging a WIAC-best 8.1 rebounds and 1.29 blocks per contest while Flynn, who ranks third nationally with 4.4 offensive rebounds a game, is second in the league with 7.9 boards per contest and a .616 field goal percentage.

Noone has made a team-leading 35 3-pointers, and Wittchow paces the squad by connecting on 47.4 percent (18-38) of his shots from beyond the 3-point arc.

Kyle Beyak, Connor Duax, Alex Van Dyke and David Vlotho are each receiving more than 10 minutes of playing time per game for the Titans. Duax leads the UW-Oshkosh reserves with 4.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest.

UW-River Falls is led by reigning WIAC Player of the Year Alex Herink, who ranks second in the league at 16.3 points per game and seventh with 6.3 rebounds per contest.

The Falcons' Brennan Witt, who leads the WIAC with a .635 field goal percentage, is averaging 12.9 points and a team-best 7.8 rebounds per game.

Completing the UW-River Falls starting lineup are Clay Siefert, Devin Buckley and Matt Keller. Siefert and Buckley average 9.4 and 8.3 points per game, respectively, while sharing the team lead with 16 3-pointers. Seifert has registered a team-high 32 assists, and Keller chips in 5.8 points per game.

UW-River Falls reserve Austin Heidecker is providing 7.8 points a game on 52.3 percent shooting from the field to go along with 4.7 rebounds per contest.

The Falcons won last season's WIAC regular season and tournament titles. UW-River Falls clinched the regular season championship with a 12-2 record, three games ahead of runners-up UW-Oshkosh and UW-Whitewater at 9-5.

Both UW-Oshkosh and UW-River Falls advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship last season. The Falcons reached the second round of the national tournament while the Titans, the lone WIAC program to play in both the past two NCAA postseasons, lost an 87-85 decision to Hope College (Mich.) in the first round a year ago.