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Flying Dutchmen Escape With NCAA Postseason Win Over Titans

Flying Dutchmen Escape With NCAA Postseason Win Over Titans

Harrison Blackledge led six Flying Dutchmen double-digit scorers with 19 points as Hope College (Mich.) withstood UW-Oshkosh's late comeback attempt and hung on for an 87-85 victory during the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship on Friday (March 3) in Holland, Mich.

Hope College (22-6), ranked 18th in the country by D3hoops.com, held an 83-74 lead following a free throw by Blackledge with 2:47 remaining.

UW-Oshkosh (17-11) pulled within 85-83 on a 3-pointer from Ben Boots with 82 seconds left. After a missed 3-pointer by the Flying Dutchmen, UW-Oshkosh's Taylor Jansen was off the mark on a potential game-tying jumper with 27 seconds to play.

Hope College's Cody Stuive rebounded Jansen's miss and converted a pair of free throws for an 87-83 advantage with 22 seconds remaining. UW-Oshkosh then missed a layup and two 3-point attempts on its final possession before the Titans' Brett Wittchow made a layup as time expired.

The Flying Dutchmen owned a lead for the final 20:35 of the contest.

Hope College remains at home to face ninth-ranked Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) (21-5) in the second round of the NCAA postseason on Saturday (March 4). Washington University advanced with an 87-72 win over Ripon College on Friday in Holland.

In Friday's win over UW-Oshkosh, Blackledge made 8 of 13 shots from the field and contributed four assists.

Dante Hawkins added 16 points and a game-high six assists for the Flying Dutchmen, who also received 13 points and three steals from Chad Carlson, and 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds from Stuive.

Teddy Ray rounded out the Hope College starting lineup with 10 points, while Mitchell O'Brien had 11 points off the bench. Carlson, Hawkins and O'Brien each owned three 3-point baskets.

UW-Oshkosh outshot Hope College, 55.2 (32-58) to 49.2 (29-59) percent, from the field, but the Flying Dutchmen held advantages in rebounds (33-28), assists (14-12), turnovers (15-12) and blocks (3-1). The Titans' field goal percentage marked a season best.

Hope College converted 18 of 20 free throws (90 percent), while UW-Oshkosh shot just 58.8 percent (10-17) from the charity stripe. Both teams connected on 11 3-point shots.

UW-Oshkosh's Boots led all players with 23 points. He made 7 of 12 shots from the field, including 6 of 9 attempts from 3-point range. Boots added four rebounds and a team-leading five assists.

Jack Flynn recorded a career-best 16 points with seven rebounds off the UW-Oshkosh bench, while Titan starters Max Schebel and Charlie Noone had 11 and 10 points, respectively. Wittchow chipped in nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.

Neither team led by more than three points until Boots drained a 3-pointer to extend the UW-Oshkosh advantage to 22-16 with 12:09 remaining in the first half.

Hope College scored 11 unanswered points, including five in a row by O'Brien, to reclaim the lead for good. A 3-pointer by Hawkins capped the 11-point skein and gave the host squad a 28-25 lead with 7:44 left in the opening period.

UW-Oshkosh missed a pair of free throws and committed three turnovers during Hope College's scoring run that spanned just over three minutes until a Wittchow jumper pulled the Titans within 28-27 at the 7:17 mark.

The Flying Dutchmen built a 36-29 lead following a 3-pointer by Ray, but the Titans rallied to tie the score at 41 on a layup by Schebel with 50 seconds to play in the first half. O'Brien then connected on his third 3-pointer of the half to give Hope College a 44-41 lead at intermission.

The teams combined to shoot 54.6 percent (30-55) from the floor during the first half, including 60 percent (15-25) by UW-Oshkosh. Hope College made seven of its 12 (58.3 percent) attempts from 3-point territory, while the Titans shot 6-for-12 (50 percent) from long range during the opening period.

Hope College opened a 59-49 lead after Stuive drained three free throws after being fouled while attempting a 3-pointer. The Flying Dutchmen then extended their advantage to 73-61 on a layup from Ray with 6:16 left before increasing their lead to 82-69 following a dunk by Ray at the 3:50 mark.

The Titans, making their second straight and seventh overall NCAA postseason appearance, started their comeback attempt with a 3-pointer by Sean Dwyer with 2:39 to play, and Jansen followed with a jumper that cut their deficit to 83-79 with 1:59 left.

UW-Oshkosh won its only prior meeting with Hope College, 84-77, during the second round of the 2003 Division III Championship in Holland.

UW-Oshkosh First Half HighlightsUW-Oshkosh Second Half HighlightsUW-Oshkosh Postgame Press Conference

NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship Interactive Bracket

Photo courtesy of David Wang, Hope College