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Titans Defeat Warhawks On Late 3-Point Basket

David Vlotho's 3-pointer with 8.8 seconds left helped UW-Oshkosh defeat UW-Whitewater and extend its winning streak to five games.
David Vlotho's 3-pointer with 8.8 seconds left helped UW-Oshkosh defeat UW-Whitewater and extend its winning streak to five games.

David Vlotho drained the game-winning 3-pointer from the left corner with 8.8 seconds remaining as the reigning NCAA Division III and WIAC champion UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team came back for a thrilling 73-71 victory at UW-Whitewater on Saturday (Jan. 25).

UW-Oshkosh (12-6, 6-1 WIAC) took its first lead of the second half amid a string of 15 unanswered points that turned a 41-34 deficit into a 49-41 advantage with 13:37 remaining during a second period that featured seven lead changes over the final 3:34.

Jack Flynn converted a pair of free throws to give UW-Oshkosh a 68-67 lead with 2:06 left, but UW-Whitewater's Bailey Kale answered with a jumper 30 seconds later to put the Warhawks in front by one point. Adam Fravert then swished two free throws as the Titans reclaimed a 70-69 edge with 1:14 to go. After both teams missed field goal attempts on their ensuing possessions, the Warhawks' Riley Jensen hit two free throws of his own for a 71-70 UW-Whitewater advantage with 22 seconds remaining.

Fravert's jumper was off the mark with 12 seconds to go, but UW-Oshkosh's Levi Borchert secured the offensive rebound near the baseline and passed the ball to Vlotho, who collected his feet and sank the game-winning 3-pointer with 8.8 seconds on the clock.

UW-Whitewater (6-12, 1-6 WIAC), which has lost four straight games against UW-Oshkosh and six of the last seven meetings in the series, did not get a shot off during its final possession.

Winners of five consecutive games, UW-Oshkosh is now alone atop the WIAC standings by virtue of its win and UW-Platteville's 74-68 loss at UW-River Falls on Saturday. UW-Platteville (15-3, 5-2 WIAC), ranked 11th in the country by D3hoops.com, and 17th-ranked UW-La Crosse (15-2, 5-2) trail the Titans by one game with seven contests remaining.

Fravert finished the game with a team-leading 24 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks for his third straight and 20th career double-double. Fravert, who ranks second in program history with 144 career blocks, moved into 15th place on the Titans' all-time scoring list with 1,265 points during his four seasons.

Flynn added 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds. He now ranks eighth in UW-Oshkosh history with 720 career rebounds and 12th with 1,344 points.

Fravert recorded his 65th career double-digit scoring effort while Flynn, a D3hoops.com All-American last season, scored at least 10 points for the 71st time in his four seasons.

Eddie Muench chipped in 12 points for the Titans, who also received eight points from Vlotho off the bench, and seven points and six rebounds from Borchert, who was making his first career start.

UW-Oshkosh went 26 of 55 (.473) from the field, 5-for-21 (.238) from 3-point range and 16 of 25 (.640) at the free throw line. The Titans owned advantages of 12-10 in assists and 12-14 in turnovers. Both teams registered two blocks.

UW-Whitewater shot 49.2 percent (29-59) from the floor, 25 percent (2-8) from beyond the 3-point arc and 78.6 percent (11-14) at the foul line. The Warhawks, who held edges of 34-29 in rebounds and 8-7 in steals, became the second opponent to outrebound UW-Oshkosh over its last 20 games.

The Titans went into Saturday ranked eighth in the country with a +10.1 average rebounding margin while also leading the conference in scoring (84.5), rebounds (43.7) and made 3-pointers (9.6) per game, free throw attempts (328), blocks (64) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.23). UW-Whitewater was ranked 411th among all 416 Division III teams with 4.6 made 3-pointers per contest.

WIAC leading scorer Equan Ards paced UW-Whitewater with 24 points on 10 of 19 shooting from the floor in 27 minutes off the bench. He went into Saturday averaging 21.8 points per game.

Kale concluded the contest with 14 points on 6-for-18 shooting from the field to go along with three assists and three steals for the Warhawks while Breontae Hunt contributed nine points, and Austin Gates eight points and a team-high seven rebounds.

UW-Oshkosh took its lone lead of the first half at 10-9 following a Vlotho 3-pointer with 14:30 to play before intermission. Ards knocked down a jumper 19 seconds later, and UW-Whitewater did not trail again until the 15:38 mark of the second half. The Warhawks led by as many as seven points during the first period and entered halftime with a 37-32 advantage.

Hunt's dunk with 18:49 left in the second half extended UW-Whitewater's lead to 41-34 before UW-Oshkosh responded with 15 unanswered points over the next six minutes. Muench began the Titans' 15-0 run by splitting a pair of free throws after Hunt was whistled for a technical foul on his dunk. Borchert and Fravert both had five points and Flynn added four during the run that was capped by Borchert's three-point play for a 49-41 lead and ended when Hunt buried a 3-pointer with 12:50 remaining.

UW-Whitewater missed five field goal attempts and committed four turnovers during UW-Oshkosh's 15-0 run.

The Warhawks later knotted the score at 55 on an Ards layup with 9:06 left and reclaimed a 59-57 advantage following a basket in the lane by James Burks III. Fravert rose for a dunk to tie it at 59, but a Hunt layup provided the Warhawks a 61-59 edge they would not relinquish until Borchert scored in the paint for a 66-65 UW-Oshkosh lead with 3:34 to go.

UW-Oshkosh travels to 11th-ranked UW-Platteville on Wednesday (Jan. 29). UW-Platteville handed the Titans their lone conference loss this season, winning 74-70 in Oshkosh on Jan. 8.