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.
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.