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Wittchow, Titans Bombard Blugolds From Long Distance

Brett Wittchow's career-high 26 points helped the Titans record a season sweep of the nationally ranked Blugolds.
Brett Wittchow's career-high 26 points helped the Titans record a season sweep of the nationally ranked Blugolds.

Brett Wittchow scored a career-high 26 points as UW-Oshkosh used a school-record 17 3-point baskets to defeat the nationally ranked UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team, 79-66, on Saturday (Jan. 28) in Kolf Sports Center.

UW-Oshkosh (12-7, 5-3 WIAC) made seven consecutive 3-point shots, including four by Wittchow, to turn a 28-19 deficit with 1:45 left in the opening period into a 40-32 lead with 17:12 remaining in the second half. The Titans owned a lead for the final 19:09 of the contest.

UW-Oshkosh shot 17-for-29 (58.6 percent) from 3-point range, including 7-for-11 (73.3 percent) during the second half, on the way to picking up their fourth straight win over the Blugolds and eighth in the last nine meetings.

UW-Eau Claire (14-5, 4-4 WIAC), ranked 17th in the NCAA Division III by, also fell to UW-Oshkosh by a 70-62 score on Jan. 14 in Eau Claire. The Blugolds went into their previous matchup with the Titans ranked 10th nationally.

UW-Oshkosh remains tied for second place in the WIAC standings – three games behind fifth-ranked UW-River Falls (18-1, 8-0 WIAC) – with six league games to play.

Wittchow connected on 9 of 13 shots from the field, including 6 of 7 from 3-point territory, while converting both of his attempts from the free throw line to eclipse his previous career high of 20 points, established earlier this season against then-17th-ranked Augustana College (Ill.).

Charlie Noone added 16 points and three assists for the Titans, who also received 12 points, four rebounds and a game-high six assists from Ben Boots. Boots and Noone, who went into the game leading the WIAC with 48 3-pointers, both shot 3-for-7 from beyond the arc.

UW-Oshkosh's Taylor Jansen scored all nine of his points via 3-pointers, and Sean Dwyer and David Vlotho chipped in one long-range jumper apiece. Max Schebel contributed eight points and a team-leading nine rebounds for the Titans.

UW-Oshkosh concluded the game shooting 50 percent (26-52) from the field and 76.9 percent (10-13) from the free throw line. The Titans also held advantages in assists (15-9) and steals (5-3).

UW-Eau Claire shot 47.4 percent (27-57) from the floor, including 50 percent (14-28) during the second half, but the Blugolds connected on just 3 of 15 attempts (20 percent) from 3-point range and 9 of 16 (56.3 percent) free throws.

UW-Oshkosh jumped out to a 7-2 lead during the first three minutes, but UW-Eau Claire rallied to reclaim a 14-12 advantage midway through the first half.

The Blugolds scored nine unanswered points to build their largest lead at 28-19 with 1:45 left in the first half. The Titans were held scoreless for more than four minutes until Wittchow and Jansen hit 3-pointers to pull UW-Oshkosh within 28-25. Wittchow beat the first-half buzzer with another long-range basket to cut the Titans' deficit to 30-28 at intermission.

Wittchow opened the second-half scoring with back-to-back 3-pointers before Noone and Jansen added long-range jumpers to cap UW-Oshkosh's 21-4 scoring run that culminated in a 40-32 lead with 17:12 remaining. Wittchow's 3-pointer at the 19:09 mark of the second half gave the Titans the lead for good.

A 3-pointer by Boots extended UW-Oshkosh's advantage to 60-48 with 9:31 left, and the Titans held a double-digit lead for all but 42 seconds the rest of the way. UW-Oshkosh held its largest lead of 16 points at 77-61 following a pair of free throws from Noone with 47 seconds to play.

Josh Weix paced UW-Eau Claire with 25 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He converted 12 of 14 shots from the field.

Chris Duff and Jack Martinek chipped in 11 points apiece for the Blugolds while George Diekelman had eight points and four assists.

Saturday's meeting between the teams featured the top two scoring defenses in the WIAC with UW-Oshkosh limiting opponents to a league-leading 65 points per game and UW-Eau Claire next at 65.8 per contest. The Blugolds were also holding teams to a WIAC-best .408 field goal percentage.

UW-Oshkosh remains at home to face UW-Stevens Point on Wednesday (Feb. 1). The Titans defeated the Pointers by a 73-68 result on Jan. 4 in Stevens Point.