Eric Peterson recorded career highs of 18 points, 12 rebounds and five assists to lead the defending NCAA Division III champion UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team to a decisive 76-66 victory over nationally ranked North Central College (Ill.) on Tuesday (Nov. 12) in Naperville, Ill.
UW-Oshkosh (2-0), ranked second in the country by D3hoops.com, never trailed third-ranked North Central College after scoring the first four points of the game. The Titans extended their lead to 25-15 and owned a 45-33 advantage at halftime on the way to maintaining at least a five-point cushion for the final 34 minutes of the contest.
The Titans made 10 of their first 13 field goal attempts and went 5-for-5 from 3-point range during the opening 10 minutes of the game.
Peterson finished the game 7-for-11 from the field en route to eclipsing his previous career highs of 12 points, six rebounds and four assists.
UW-Oshkosh's Adam Fravert added 15 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks for his 51st career double-digit scoring effort.
UW-Oshkosh connected on 9 of 19 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc as Fravert buried three long-range jumpers and Peterson two.
The Titans ended the first meeting between the teams since 2004 with advantages of 47.6 (30-63) to 40.6 (26-64) percent in field goal percentage, 40-39 in rebounds, 5-3 in steals and 7-10 in turnovers.
North Central College, which reached the second round of the NCAA postseason last year, held edges of 11-10 in assists and 5-4 in blocks. The Cardinals shot just 26.1 percent (6-23) from 3-point range.
Will Clausel led the Cardinals with 14 points off the bench while Connor Raridon had 13 points and nine rebounds. Matt Cappelletti registered nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds for North Central College.
Fravert opened the scoring with a jumper less than a minute into the game before Peterson drove for a layup that provided the Titans an early 4-0 lead. Peterson then began UW-Oshkosh's string of five straight successful 3-point attempts, extending the Titan advantage to 9-2. Fravert, Vlotho, Will Mahoney and JT Petrie all later connected on long-range jumpers of their own to help UW-Oshkosh build a 28-17 lead at the 10:43 mark of the first half.
North Central College cut its deficit to 38-31 late in the opening period, but UW-Oshkosh finished the half with a 7-2 run over the final 98 seconds as Borchert and Duax connected on field goals ahead of Peterson's 3-pointer that upped the Titans' lead to 45-33 at intermission.
UW-Oshkosh owned at least a two-possession lead for the entire second half. The Titans owned their largest advantage of 14 points at 76-62 following Flynn's short jumper in the lane with 2:17 left.
Tuesday's meeting between UW-Oshkosh and North Central College was the first in Naperville since 1933. The Cardinals defeated the Titans, 60-59, during the 2004 matchup in Dubuque, Iowa, that marked the only other matchup in the series this century.
UW-Oshkosh plays its third straight road game against a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin opponent when it travels to Carthage College next Tuesday (Nov. 19). The Titans opened the season with a 74-67 win Saturday (Nov. 9) at 17th-ranked Augustana College (Ill.), the five-time defending CCIW regular season champion.
Photo courtesy of Steve Woltmann