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Eagles Fly Away With Victory Over Titans

Jack Flynn scored 12 points and collected six rebounds during his 16 minutes of activity against the Eagles.
Jack Flynn scored 12 points and collected six rebounds during his 16 minutes of activity against the Eagles.

Ben Meinholz led all players with 18 points, Zach Schradle added 17 points and 14 rebounds, and defending WIAC men's basketball champion UW-La Crosse secured a 70-60 win over UW-Oshkosh on Wednesday (Feb. 8) in Kolf Sports Center.

UW-La Crosse (12-10, 4-7 WIAC) outshot UW-Oshkosh, .469 (23-49) to .328 (21-64), from the field en route to snapping a three-game losing streak to the Titans. The Eagles took the lead for good at 9-6 with 15:56 remaining in the first half.

UW-Oshkosh (13-9, 6-5 WIAC), which had made 42 3-pointers over its previous four games, missed its final 11 long-range jumpers against the Eagles and concluded the contest 2-for-22 (9.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Titans, who defeated the Eagles by a 61-55 score on Jan. 25 in La Crosse, dropped into a tie for third place in the WIAC standings – four games behind league-leading UW-River Falls (20-2, 10-1 WIAC) – with three contests remaining.

Meinholz shot 8 of 12 from the floor and recorded nine rebounds and two assists while Schradle, who entered the game leading the WIAC with 9.2 rebounds per game, went 5-for-13 from the field and made seven of his 11 attempts at the free throw line.

UW-La Crosse's Ryan Kruser and Austin Fritz registered 16 and 13 points, respectively, as the Eagles starting lineup accounted for all but four of the team's points.

UW-Oshkosh ended the game with slim advantages in rebounds (38-36), assists (10-7) turnovers (13-10) and steals (7-4), but the Eagles shot better than 45 percent from the field in both halves while the Titans connected on 30 percent (9-30) in the opening half and 35.3 percent (12-34) during the second.

UW-La Crosse scored nine consecutive points to reclaim a 13-6 lead with just under 15 minutes to play in the first half. The Eagles maintained a lead after Schradle hit a 3-pointer for a 9-6 advantage at the 15:56 mark.

UW-Oshkosh pulled within 21-18 on a 3-pointer from Adam Fravert and 27-26 on a long-range basket from Ben Boots before the Eagles tallied the final five points of the first half for a 32-26 advantage at intermission.

A three-point play by Fritz extended UW-La Crosse's lead to 39-28 with 18 minutes left, and the Eagles held an advantage of at least four points the rest of the way.

Taylor Jansen split a pair of free throws to trim UW-Oshkosh's deficit to 47-43 with 12:13 to play, and a layup by Brett Wittchow cut the Eagles' lead to 49-45 less than a minute later.

The Eagles then tallied seven unanswered points to build a 56-45 lead with 5:37 remaining as UW-Oshkosh missed seven straight field goal attempts and committed four turnovers during a nearly seven-minute stretch before Jansen sank two free throws to pull the Titans within 56-47 with 4:47 to play.

Leading 58-49 with four minutes left, UW-La Crosse scored seven consecutive points, including the last four by Schradle, to increase its lead to 65-49 with 2:05 to go.

Boots paced UW-Oshkosh with 13 points, three assists and three steals while Jack Flynn had 12 points and a team-best six rebounds off the bench.

Fravert and Jansen chipped in eight points apiece and Max Schebel six for the Titans.

UW-Oshkosh remains at home to face UW-Platteville on Saturday (Feb. 11) in Kolf Sports Center. The Titans defeated the Pioneers, 71-60, on Jan. 11 in Platteville.