Charlie Noone scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half and Ben Boots tallied 12 of his 14 points during the second as the UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team jumped out to a large early lead and upset nationally ranked UW-Eau Claire, 70-62, on Saturday (Jan. 14) In Eau Claire.
UW-Oshkosh (10-5, 3-1 WIAC) made 12 of its first 15 shots from the field, including six in a row to start the game, on the way to building first-half leads of 22-5 and 28-11.
UW-Eau Claire (12-3, 2-2 WIAC), ranked 10th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, cut its deficit to two points on three occasions during the second half, but the Titans held the best shooting team in the country at bay as UW-Oshkosh owned a lead for the final 38:47 of the contest.
The Blugolds pulled within 58-56 with 2:32 remaining before UW-Oshkosh scored on each of its next five possessions, including 3-pointers by Boots that provided the Titans leads of 61-56 with 2:15 left and 66-58 with 41 seconds to play.
The Blugolds, who entered the game with a division-leading .527 field goal percentage, fell to the Titans for the seventh time in the past eight meetings.
UW-Oshkosh, which went into the contest leading the WIAC with 64.4 points allowed per contest, snapped UW-Eau Claire's 10-game home winning streak.
Noone concluded the contest shooting 7 of 12 from the field, including 4 of 9 from 3-point range, after making 6 of 8 shots during the first half.
Boots connected on 4 of 7 shots from the field and all four of his free throws while adding five rebounds and four assists.
Both teams made 26 of 53 shots (49.1 percent) from the field. UW-Oshkosh went 8-for-20 from 3-point range and 10-for-10 from the free throw line while UW-Eau Claire hit just 1 of 13 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc and 9 of 15 tosses from the foul line. The Blugolds had made at least two 3-pointers during each of their previous 84 games.
UW-Oshkosh also held slim advantages in rebounds (30-29), assists (13-9) and turnovers (11-9). The Titans have committed an average of just 10.75 turnovers over their past four contests.
Noone accounted for 14 points as UW-Oshkosh raced out to a 20-5 lead with 12:46 left in the first half. A layup by AJ Mueller extended the Titans' advantage to 24-7 as the Blugolds shot 3-for-10 from the floor and UW-Oshkosh 10-for-14 during the first 10 minutes.
UW-Eau Claire trimmed its deficit to 32-23 on a layup by Josh Weix at the 2:08 mark of the opening half, and the Blugolds trailed, 34-25, at intermission after making five of their last eight shots from the field.
After its hot start, UW-Oshkosh missed its last nine shots from the floor over the final six minutes of the first half as the Titans narrowly outshot the Blugolds, 48.1 to 47.8 percent, during the opening stanza.
Both teams converted four of their first five field goal attempts during the second half. A three-point play by Weix cut the UW-Oshkosh lead to 40-36 with just under 16 minutes to play, and another Weix basket pulled the Blugolds within 40-38 with 14 minutes left.
A jumper from Jansen ended UW-Oshkosh's nearly six-minute scoreless stretch and increased the Titan lead to 42-38 with 12 minutes remaining. Consecutive 3-pointers by Kyle Beyak and Sean Dwyer gave the Titans a 48-42 advantage during a span of 73 seconds in which the teams combined to score 12 points.
Trailing 58-51 with five minutes to play, UW-Eau Claire's Chris Duff scored five straight points to cut the Blugold deficit to 58-56 with 2:32 left. However, a 3-pointer by Boots 17 seconds later ended UW-Oshkosh's three-minute scoreless drought.
Weix drained a pair of free throws to bring UW-Eau Claire within 61-58 with 1:51 to play, but a jumper by Noone and another 3-pointer by Boots provided the Titans a 66-58 advantage with 41 seconds left. UW-Oshkosh maintained a lead of at least six points the rest of the way.
Weix led all players with 23 points, shooting 8 of 14 from the floor and 7 of 8 from the free throw line. He added six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Jack Martinek contributed 13 points for the Blugolds while Jared Schneidermann had 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Starters combined to score all but 13 of the game's points. UW-Eau Claire received just three points off the bench – all from Deondre Lucas, who chipped in four rebounds and two assists.
UW-Oshkosh hosts 21st-ranked UW-Whitewater (12-3, 1-3 WIAC) on Wednesday (Jan. 18) in Kolf Sports Center.