Nolan Beirne made a pair of decisive free throws with 2.8 seconds left in overtime as St. Norbert College defeated the UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team, 96-95, Tuesday (Dec. 17) in De Pere.
St. Norbert College (5-2) overcame a 10-point deficit midway through the second half and sent the game into overtime on a Michael Payant 3-pointer that knotted the score at 85 with less than a second to play in regulation. The Green Knights later took their first lead since the 7:03 mark of the second half at 94-92 following a three-point play from Connor Curtis with 25 seconds left in overtime.
UW-Oshkosh's Will Mahoney answered with a three-point play of his own 11 seconds later for a 95-94 Titan lead. Joe Ciriacks' potential go-ahead jumper for the Green Knights was off the mark with under five seconds to play, but Beirne collected the offensive rebound and was fouled from behind. Beirne then hit his two free throws before UW-Oshkosh committed a turnover as time expired.
The Green Knights, who trailed by seven points with 92 seconds left in regulation, owned a lead for just 1:51 of the 45 minutes played Tuesday.
St. Norbert College, which extended its winning streak to five games, has not lost at home in four contests this season. The Green Knights, who snapped a three-game losing streak to UW-Oshkosh, picked up their first win in the series since a 68-62 decision during the 2015-16 season opener in De Pere.
Curtis led all players with 28 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the field while adding a team-leading nine rebounds and five assists for St. Norbert College.
Ciriacks, who shot 5-for-12 from 3-point range, had 26 points after entering the game ranked third in the NCAA Division III with a .583 3-point percentage.
Beirne and Jared Murphy chipped in 10 points apiece for a St. Norbert College team that scored more than 95 points for the second time this year.
Mahoney paced five UW-Oshkosh double-digit scorers with 20 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists in his first start as a Titan.
UW-Oshkosh's Jack Flynn added 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the floor and seven rebounds while Adam Fravert contributed 18 points, 10 rebounds and a team-high six assists for his 17th career double-double.
Levi Borchert registered 11 points, a game-best 11 rebounds and four assists off the UW-Oshkosh bench.
St. Norbert College shot 48.7 percent (37-76) from the floor, 34.5 percent (10-29) from beyond the 3-point arc and 80 percent (12-15) at the free throw line. The Green Knights, who went into Tuesday ranked seventh nationally with a .423 3-point percentage, held advantages of 7-15 in turnovers and 5-3 in steals.
UW-Oshkosh finished the game shooting 30 of 66 (.455 percent) from the field, 13-for-31 (.419) from 3-point range and 22 of 27 (.815) at the foul line. The Titans, who have outrebounded each of their last 11 opponents, had edges of 44-38 in rebounds, 17-16 in assists and 2-1 in blocks. UW-Oshkosh, ranked seventh in the country with a +11.8 average rebounding margin, has now made at least 10 3-pointers on five occasions this season.
The first half featured eight ties as neither team led by more than six points. Tied at 30 with six minutes remaining in the opening period, Mahoney drove for a layup and UW-Oshkosh maintained a lead, including a 65-55 lead with 10:40 left in the second half, until Ciriacks drilled a 3-pointer for a 70-68 St. Norbert College advantage at the 7:03 mark of the second half.
UW-Oshkosh responded with a 12-2 scoring run to reclaim an 80-72 lead after a basket in the lane from Flynn at the 3:54 mark of the second half. Mahoney later hit a pair of free throws that increased the Titans' advantage to 84-77 with 92 seconds remaining.
Trailing 85-80 with 62 ticks left in regulation, Payant accounted for each of the Green Knights' next five points on a layup with 47 seconds to play and his tying 3-pointer from the right wing with one-tenth of a second left on the clock.
Vlotho began overtime with a deep 3-pointer 10 seconds into the extra session, and UW-Oshkosh did not trail again until Curtis' three-point play with 25 seconds to go.
UW-Oshkosh (5-4) is off until flying to Atlanta, Ga., to play nationally ranked Emory University on Dec. 29 and LaGrange College (Ga.) on Dec. 30. Both games will be held at Emory University.