The UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team persevered through the last 34 seconds to pull out a 59-57 victory over UW-River Falls on Wednesday (Jan. 7) in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-River Falls fine-tuned its final possession with three timeouts. However, Jack Herum's 8-foot jumper with two seconds remaining caromed off the rim and into the hands of Alex Olson, giving the Titans their fifth straight win over the Falcons.
Four straight free throws by Falcon Jon Christensen pulled UW-River Falls within 57-56 with 1:27 left, but Olson answered with a layup at the other end for a three-point lead with 54 seconds remaining.
UW-River Falls' Grant Erickson was fouled on the ensuing inbounds and converted the second of two free throws with 40 seconds remaining. UW-Oshkosh committed a turnover in the backcourt six seconds later, setting up the final UW-River Falls possession.
Bolger led the Titans with 12 points. Max Schebel and Jansen added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Olson contributed six points, four rebounds and game-high totals of eight assists and three steals.
UW-Oshkosh shot 44.6 percent (25-56) from the field, 19 percent (4-21) on 3-pointers and 62.5 percent (5-8) from the free throw line. The Titans, who held their eighth opponent this season to under 60 points, also had a 12-3 advantage in steals en route to limiting the Falcons to their lowest scoring output of the season.
The Titans gained their largest lead of five points after a 3-point basket by Sean Dwyer that made the score 11-6 with 15 minutes to play in the first period.
UW-River Falls responded with an eight-point run over the next five-plus minutes for a 14-11 advantage. The Falcons extended their lead to 18-13 on a 3-pointer by Christensen at the 6:44 mark, but a layup by Mueller and a three-point play by Jansen knotted the score at 18 just over one minute later.
UW-Oshkosh reclaimed a 26-24 lead on a Dwyer shot from beyond the arc and tacked on a Bolger jumper with 23 second left in the period, but a layup by Herum cut the Falcons' deficit to 28-26 at the break.
UW-River Falls (5-9, 3-2 WIAC) broke a tie at 34 with six unanswered points to forge its largest lead of the game with 12:45 to play. A layup by Jansen and a 3-point basket by Bolger tied it back up with 10:33 left.
Neither team led by more than three points in the second half until Jansen connected from long range at the 3:25 mark.
Christensen had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists for UW-River Falls. CJ Lewis chipped in with 12 points for the Falcons, while Connor Goodwin added 11 points and six rebounds.
The Falcons shot 42.2 percent (19-45) from the floor, 40 percent (6-15) from behind the arc and 56.5 percent (13-23) from the foul line. UW-River Falls outrebounded UW-Oshkosh, 36-28.
UW-Oshkosh, which is three games over .500 for the first time since defeating UW-River Falls at home in 2009, faces 19th-ranked UW-Stevens Point on Saturday (Jan. 10) in Kolf Sports Center.