The reigning NCAA Division III and WIAC champion UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team shot better than 70 percent from the field during the second half to overcome a 13-point halftime deficit and stun UW-Stevens Point, 105-95, Wednesday (Jan. 22) in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Oshkosh (11-6, 5-1 WIAC) trailed, 52-39, at intermission before erupting for 66 points over the final 20 minutes against one of the best defensive teams in the country. The Titans made 19 of 27 shots from the field in the second half, including 9 of 13 from 3-point range, to remain tied atop the conference standings.
The Titans, who trailed by as many as 13 points on three occasions during the first half and once in the second, began the second period with a 17-6 run to tie the score at 58 on a Jack Flynn layup with 15:52 remaining. UW-Oshkosh later took the lead for good at 75-73 following an Eric Peterson 3-pointer at the 8:49 mark and extended its advantage to 87-75 after a pair of Levi Borchert free throws that capped a string of nine unanswered points with 5:55 left. The Titans, who made eight consecutive field goal attempts from the 10-minute mark of the second half until there were three minutes to play, went on to lead by at least five points for the last 7:30 of the game.
UW-Oshkosh, the highest scoring team in the WIAC at 83.2 points per game, produced its best scoring performance against UW-Stevens Point since a 102-95 victory over the Pointers during the 1975-76 season. Wednesday's Titan victory avenged a 76-56 loss to the Pointers during the semifinal round of last year's WIAC Championship.
UW-Oshkosh and UW-Platteville (15-2, 5-1 WIAC), ranked 11th by D3hoops.com, remain tied for first in the league with eight games left.
UW-Stevens Point (11-6, 3-3 WIAC), which went into the night ranked ninth in the nation by allowing just 61.5 points per contest on the year, yielded its most points since the 1990-91 campaign. The Pointers had not surrendered more than 86 points in a game since the 2012-13 season.
Adam Fravert led the Titans with 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for his WIAC-leading fifth double-double of the year and 19th career. He moved into 10th on UW-Oshkosh's all-time rebounding list with 683 during his four-year career and currently paces the team this season with 18.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Fravert went into the game leading the conference in rebounding, blocks (27) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.88).
Borchert added a career-high 20 points on 8-for-9 shooting from the field and six rebounds off the UW-Oshkosh bench. Borchert, who contributed a pair of assists and one block, improved his field goal percentage to .734 (58-79) on the year.
Peterson shot 6-for-10 from the floor, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range, en route to a career-high 19 points for the Titans. Flynn had 13 points and seven rebounds, including four on the offensive end. Peterson tallied 17 points after intermission while Flynn, an All-American last season, had 11 of his 13 points in the second half to reach double digits for the 70th time in four years.
Rounding out UW-Oshkosh's scorers as it topped 100 points for the first time season were Eddie Muench with nine points, David Vlotho with eight, Will Mahoney seven, Jake Zeitler five and Quinn Steckbauer two.
UW-Oshkosh finished the night shooting a season-best 60.7 percent (34-56) from the floor, 56.5 percent (13-23) from beyond the 3-point arc and 68.6 percent (24-35) at the free throw line. The Titans' .607 field goal percentage is the program's best in the 282 games since a .615 rate against Holy Family College on Dec. 21, 2009 while its 24 made free throws established a season high. UW-Oshkosh made at least 10 3-pointers for the ninth time this season.
The Titans, who extended their winning streak to a season-best four games, owned advantages of 35-27 in rebounds, 16-10 in assists and 3-1 in blocks after heading into Wednesday ranked seventh nationally with a +10.2 average rebounding margin while also leading the WIAC in rebounds (44.3) and made 3-pointers (9.4) per game, and blocks with 61. UW-Oshkosh has outrebounded 18 of its last 19 opponents.
UW-Stevens Point went 31 of 63 (.492) from the floor, 12 of 26 (.462) from 3-point range and 21 of 26 (.808) at the foul line. The Pointers, who held edges of 7-12 in turnovers and 6-2 in steals, were ranked eighth in the nation in free throw percentage (.780). UW-Stevens Point was also leading the conference in turnovers per game (11.5) and average turnover margin (+3.3).
The Pointers' Ethan Bublitz led all players with 28 points, shooting 7-for-17 from the field and 11 of 12 at the free throw line. He also paced the team with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Blake Ehrke and Garrett Nelson had 23 points apiece for UW-Stevens Point, which received just seven points and five rebounds from its reserves.
Both teams shot better than 50 percent during the first half in which UW-Stevens Point owned the lead for the final nine minutes. The Pointers built their largest lead of 13 points on three occasions during the opening period, holding advantages of 39-26 and 47-34 before entering intermission with a 52-39 lead following a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Zach Mootz.
UW-Stevens Point maintained a 55-42 lead until the Titans exploded for a 16-3 run during a span of less than four minutes to tie the score at 58. Peterson sparked the run with a three-point play. Vlotho then drained back-to-back 3-pointers, and Borchert and Flynn combined to score the next nine UW-Oshkosh points via four layups and a free throw.
The Pointers reclaimed their final lead of the game at 73-72 after an Ehrke jumper with nine minutes left, but Peterson answered with a 3-pointer on the next possession, and UW-Oshkosh never trailed after the 8:49 mark of the second half. Peterson's go-ahead 3-pointer began a string of eight consecutive made field goals that fueled a 24-11 run as Muench hit a 3-pointer of his own, Peterson drilled two more long-range shots from beyond the arc, Borchert and Flynn both converted a pair of layups, and Steckbauer scored in the lane during the decisive span of more than six minutes.
The Titans had their largest cushion of 13 points on three occasions in the final four minutes, leading 94-81 after two Fravert free throws with 3:36 to go, 98-85 on a Borchert layup at the 1:49 mark and 105-92 following a Flynn free throw with 15 seconds remaining.
UW-Oshkosh travels to UW-Whitewater on Saturday (Jan. 25).