Brett Wittchow scored his game-high 18th point on a go-ahead layup with 30 seconds remaining as the UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team upset nationally ranked UW-River Falls, 65-60, on Saturday (Feb. 4) in River Falls.
Wittchow drove from the left wing for a basket that gave UW-Oshkosh a 62-60 advantage. UW-Oshkosh's Taylor Jansen, who was fouled after pulling down the rebound on a missed layup attempt by UW-River Falls' Grant Erickson with 17 seconds to play, then split a pair of free throws for a 63-60 lead.
Following a UW-River Falls timeout, Falcon Alex Herink missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer from the left side. UW-Oshkosh's Max Schebel secured the rebound and converted a pair of free throws with 2.8 seconds to go to provide the game's final score.
UW-Oshkosh (13-8, 6-4 WIAC), which suffered a 79-57 home loss to UW-River Falls on Jan. 21, snapped the Falcons' 17-game winning streak.
The Titans have won eight of their 11 road games this season while UW-River Falls (19-2, 9-1 WIAC), ranked fourth the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, lost at home for the first time since Feb. 10, 2016.
UW-River Falls remains atop the WIAC standings over second-place and 21st-ranked UW-Whitewater (18-3, 7-3 WIAC) and third-place UW-Oshkosh with four league contests remaining.
UW-Oshkosh won its second straight game over a nationally ranked conference rival and improved its record to 4-4 against ranked teams this season. The Titans also defeated then-eighth-ranked St. Norbert College, 58-45, on Dec. 20 and swept the season series against UW-Eau Claire by scores of 70-62 on Jan. 14 and 79-66 on Jan. 28. UW-Eau Claire was ranked 10th at the time of the first meeting and 17th during the second matchup.
Wittchow connected on 8 of 10 shots from the field on the way to his 11th double-digit scoring performance of the season.
Jansen added 12 points and four rebounds for the Titans while Schebel had 10 points and a team-leading five rebounds.
In a battle of the top two scoring defenses in the WIAC, UW-Oshkosh owned advantages in field goal percentage (.482 to .358), rebounds (34-32), assists (10-8) and steals (6-3). UW-Oshkosh committed 10 turnovers and UW-River Falls eight.
UW-River Falls, which was held to its lowest field goal percentage of the season, entered the game holding teams to a conference-best 64.8 points per contest while the Titans were second at 65.3.
UW-Oshkosh fell behind early and reclaimed a 21-18 lead on back-to-back layups from Schebel and Wittchow before extending its advantage to 24-18 on a 3-pointer from Charlie Noone.
A layup by AJ Mueller gave UW-Oshkosh a 26-21 lead midway through the first half, but the Titans were held scoreless for more than seven minutes until Mueller hit two free throws for a 28-24 advantage with three minutes to play before halftime.
UW-River Falls tied the score at 28, but Schebel made a basket in the lane, and Wittchow drained a 3-pointer as time expired for a 33-28 UW-Oshkosh lead at intermission.
UW-Oshkosh outshot the Falcons, 50 to 30.8 percent, from the field during the first half despite the Titans missing eight straight shots during their seven-minute scoring drought. UW-Oshkosh made 14 of 28 field goal attempts in the opening period while the Falcons shot 8-for-26.
UW-River Falls scored 12 of the first 14 points of the second half and took a 40-35 lead on a Garret Pearson layup with 16:33 left. However, a three-point play from Wittchow and a basket in the lane by Jack Flynn knotted the score at 40 with just over 15 minutes to play.
The Titans grabbed a 49-46 lead on a 3-pointer by Noone that capped a four-minute stretch in which UW-Oshkosh shot 6-for-8 from the floor, but the Falcons rallied to reclaim their last lead at 54-53 as Erickson converted one of two free throws with 6:28 remaining.
Consecutive layups by Mueller, who finished with six points, and Schebel gave UW-Oshkosh a 60-56 lead with just over three minutes to go until baskets from Falcons Brennan Witt and Clay Seifert tied the game at 60 with 48 seconds remaining.
UW-Oshkosh missed three shots from the floor and committed one turnover in the span of nearly three minutes before Wittchow drove for the go-ahead basket.
Seifert paced UW-River Falls with 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field. Pearson added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Falcons, who also received eight points from Devin Buckley and seven points apiece from Witt and Matt Keller.
UW-Oshkosh returns home to face UW-La Crosse on Wednesday (Feb. 8) in Kolf Sports Center. The Titans defeated the Eagles, 61-55, on Jan. 21 in La Crosse.