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Warhawks' Rapid Start Too Much For Titans To Overcome

AJ Mueller scored 10 points and grabbed a season-high six rebounds against the Warhawks.
AJ Mueller scored 10 points and grabbed a season-high six rebounds against the Warhawks.

Nationally ranked UW-Whitewater made 10 of its first 12 shots from the field and held on for a 73-67 win over the UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team on Wednesday (Jan. 18) in Kolf Sports Center.

UW-Whitewater (13-3, 2-3 WIAC), ranked 25th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, built a 27-8 advantage midway through the opening period and never trailed.

UW-Oshkosh (10-6, 3-2 WIAC) cut its deficit to five points on two occasions with under one minute remaining in the second half, but the Warhawks made four of their last five attempts at the free throw line to secure the victory.

The Warhawks entered the game leading the WIAC with 84.1 points per game while UW-Oshkosh led the league by allowing 64.2 points per contest.

UW-Whitewater's Chris Jones scored 15 of his team-high 21 points in the first half. He concluded the contest shooting 9 of 16 from the field, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range, while adding three assists.

Scotty Tyler had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Warhawks, who also received 11 points and two steals from Demetrius Woodley and 10 points from Derek Rongstad. Andre Brown chipped in six points and a team-best four assists off the UW-Whitewater bench.

UW-Whitewater held advantages in field goal percentage (.563 to .439), 3-point field goal percentage (.588 to .375) and assists (13-10). The teams combined to commit just 15 turnovers, including a season-low seven by UW-Oshkosh, while the Titans had a 29-28 edge in rebounds.

The Warhawks went into the contest ranked second nationally by shooting 43.8 percent from 3-point range.

UW-Oshkosh began the game shooting 3-for-14 from the floor. The Titans pulled within 31-19 on a 3-pointer by Charlie Noone with 5:53 left in the first half, but the Warhawks went into intermission with a 40-25 lead.

During the first half, UW-Whitewater shot 59.3 percent (16-27) from the field, including 70 percent (7-10) from beyond the 3-point arc. The Warhawks also owned an 18-11 rebounding advantage in the opening stanza.

UW-Whitewater maintained a lead of at least 11 points for more than 20 minutes until a layup by UW-Oshkosh's AJ Mueller cut the Warhawk advantage to 45-36 with 14:56 remaining.

A layup by Woodley increased UW-Whitewater's lead to 55-40 with 12 minutes to go, but a 3-pointer by Ben Boots pulled the Titans within 62-55 at the 5:36 mark.

Trailing 68-58 with two minutes left, UW-Oshkosh closed to within 69-63 on another 3-pointer from Boots with 93 seconds to play.

UW-Whitewater missed three straight free throws over the ensuing 36 seconds. However, UW-Oshkosh missed a 3-pointer and committed a turnover on its next two possessions, and Rongstad and Brown combined to make 5 of 6 free throws to close out the game.

UW-Oshkosh attempted one shot from the floor – a missed 3-pointer – during the final 30 seconds after Brown split a pair of free throws to provide the gane's final score.

Boots paced the Titans with 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting from the field, including 5 of 9 from behind the 3-point line.

Noone contributed 13 points for UW-Oshkosh, and Taylor Jansen and Mueller had 10 apiece. Mueller had a team-leading six rebounds and shot 5-for-6 from the floor in 14 minutes played.

The Titans' Brett Wittchow recorded six points, five rebounds and a team-best four assists.

UW-Oshkosh remains at home to face fifth-ranked and league-leading UW-River Falls (15-1, 5-0 WIAC) on Saturday (Jan. 21).