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Titans Complete Sweep Of Defending WIAC Champion

Ben Boots has scored 10-plus points in each of his last seven games.
Ben Boots has scored 10-plus points in each of his last seven games.

Ben Boots had a team-high 15 points, four rebounds and five assists as UW-Oshkosh completed the season sweep of defending WIAC champion UW-River Falls with a 78-57 victory in a matchup of nationally ranked men's basketball teams on Saturday (Jan. 27) in River Falls.

UW-Oshkosh (15-4, 5-3 WIAC), ranked 19th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, trailed for just 30 seconds early in the first half. The Titans, who took the lead for good at 7-5 with 17:18 left in the first half, compiled a 16-3 scoring run during a span of four minutes in the second period to increase their advantage to 49-34 with 14:35 to play. UW-Oshkosh led by at least 12 points for the game's final 15 minutes.

The Titans, who shot 65.2 percent (15-23) from the field during the second half on Saturday, also defeated the Falcons by a 67-58 score on Jan. 13 in Oshkosh.

Boots, who led the Titans in scoring for the ninth time this season, shot 4-for-8 from the floor and 7-for-9 at the free throw line. He went into Saturday's game pacing the conference with 4.1 assists per contest, a 2.43 assist-to-turnover ratio and an .873 free throw percentage.

Jack Flynn had 14 points for the Titans on 6-for-7 shooting from the field while Charlie Noone and Brett Wittchow added 13 points apiece. Flynn entered the contest with a WIAC-best .613 field goal percentage.

David Vlotho matched his season high with eight points in 14 minutes off the UW-Oshkosh bench.

UW-Oshkosh concluded the game with advantages in field goal percentage (.510 to .314), assists (12-8), turnovers (15-11), blocks (2-1) and steals (6-4). Both teams registered 32 rebounds.

The Titans shot 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range and 17-for-21 (81 percent) at the free throw line.

UW-Oshkosh went into the game ranked fifth in the country in average rebounding margin (+10.7) while also leading the conference in assists (14.7) and rebounds (40.1) per game, opponent field goal percentage (.405) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.20).

The Titans reclaimed a 7-5 lead they wouldn't relinquish on a layup from Flynn. UW-Oshkosh extended its advantage to 25-16 following a free throw by Wittchow at the 5:51 mark of the first half, but UW-River Falls' Alex Herink, the reigning WIAC Player of the Year, accounted for each of the next seven points as the Falcons pulled within 25-23 with 3:46 left in the first period.

Twentieth-ranked UW-River Falls (13-5, 4-4 WIAC) cut its deficit to 27-26 late in the first half before Wittchow drove for a layup to provide the Titans a 29-26 advantage at intermission.

The Titans opened the second half with a 20-8 scoring run that featured six points apiece from Flynn and Noone. Leading 33-31, UW-Oshkosh received consecutive 3-pointers from Noone and Wittchow and a jumper from Boots to increase its lead to 41-32 with 17:15 left.

After a pair of free throws by the Falcons, Flynn recorded a layup, and Vlotho and Noone drilled back-to-back 3-pointers as the Titans built a 49-34 lead with 14:35 to go and led by at least 13 points the rest of the way.

UW-Oshkosh marked ts largest advantage of 21 points when Adam Fravert threw down a dunk to provide the final score with 32 seconds remaining. Fravert finished with seven points, three rebounds, five assists and one block. He went into Saturday leading the WIAC with 8.1 rebounds per game and 24 blocks.

Herink ended the contest with a game-high 27 points for the Falcons. He shot 8 of 18 from the floor and 10 of 14 at the foul line.

UW-River Falls' Matt Keller and Clay Seifert contributed eight points apiece. Seifert added a team-leading seven rebounds and three assists.

The Titans host UW-Platteville on Wednesday (Jan. 31) in Kolf Sports Center.

Photo courtesy of D3Photography.com