Jack Flynn had a career-high 24 points on 9-for-9 shooting from the field and added 10 rebounds as the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team defeated UW-La Crosse, 72-65, on Saturday (Jan. 6) in La Crosse.
UW-Oshkosh (11-2, 1-1 WIAC), ranked seventh in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, scored 15 unanswered points for a 36-30 lead during a stretch of just over four minutes that spanned the two halves. The Titans took the lead for good at 42-41 on a 3-pointer by Charlie Noone with 12:31 remaining.
The Titans extended their advantage to 60-50 following a three-point play from Brett Wittchow at the 5:17 mark, but UW-La Crosse pulled within 63-61 with 1:45 remaining and trailed, 65-62, with 78 seconds left.
Wittchow drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to increase UW-Oshkosh's lead to 68-62 with 64 seconds to go before Ben Boots converted each of his four free throws for a 72-62 Titan advantage with 18 seconds left.
UW-Oshkosh, which claimed victory in La Crosse for just the second time since 2011, avenged a pair of setbacks to UW-La Crosse last season as the Eagles defeated the Titans by scores of 61-55 on Jan. 25 in La Crosse and 70-60 on Feb. 8 in Oshkosh.
The Titans concluded Saturday's meeting with a 44-27 rebounding advantage while shooting 50 percent (23-46) from the field and 68.8 percent (22-32) at the free throw line. UW-Oshkosh, which entered the game leading the WIAC with a +11.4 average rebounding margin, won despite committing a season-high 17 turnovers, including 10 on UW-La Crosse steals.
Flynn, who recorded his sixth double-double of the season, eclipsed his previous career high of 20 points by shooting 2-for-2 from the field during the first half and 7-for-7 in the second period while making 6 of 12 free throws. Flynn went into the contest leading the WIAC with 8.1 rebounds per game.
Wittchow and Boots finished with 15 and 13 points, respectively, for the Titans, whose starters accounted for all but four of their points.
Rounding out the UW-Oshkosh starting lineup were Charlie Noone with nine points and Adam Fravert with seven points and game highs of 11 rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Fravert entered the game leading the conference with 16 blocks and second in the league with eight rebounds per contest.
UW-La Crosse (9-4, 1-1 WIAC), which matched its season low with eight turnovers, shot 44.3 percent (27-61) from the floor but just 33.3 percent (6-18) at the foul line. The Eagles' .333 success rate at the free throw line was their worst in the 192 games since going 0-for-1 at the charity stripe against Randolph-Macon College (Va.) on Nov. 26, 2010.
Brendon Manning paced UW-La Crosse with 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field to go along with five rebounds and three steals.
Jack Kortes and Sam Skoyen chipped in 13 points apiece off the Eagles' bench as UW-La Crosse reserves produced 39 points and 10 rebounds.
UW-La Crosse claimed an 8-6 lead on a jumper from Manning with 15:28 left in the first half, and the Eagles maintained an advantage until early in the second period.
The Eagles held UW-Oshkosh scoreless during a stretch of more than four minutes, extending their lead to 14-8 midway through the opening half before building their largest advantage at 26-15 with five minutes to play before intermission.
Trailing 30-21 with 79 seconds left in the first half, Wittchow drilled a 3-pointer and Noone sank a pair of free throws to cut UW-Oshkosh's deficit to 30-26 at halftime.
The Titans extended their scoring run to 15 by registering the first 10 points of the second period. UW-Oshkosh shot 6-for-6 from the floor and 2-for-2 at the free throw line during its 15-0 run that concluded with a layup from Boots for a 36-30 lead with 16:59 remaining.
UW-La Crosse reclaimed a 39-36 advantage on a 3-pointer by Skoyen at the 13:51 mark and a 41-39 edge on a layup from Lane Von Rueden with 12:51 left, but Noone answered with a 3-pointer 20 seconds later, and Flynn scored in the paint to give UW-Oshkosh a 44-41 lead with 11:35 to play.
UW-Oshkosh hosts UW-Stout on Wednesday (Jan. 10) in Kolf Sports Center.
Photo courtesy of Jim Lund