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Pointers' Half-Court Shot Delivers Titans Overtime Loss

AJ Mueller recorded game-high totals with his 19 points and six rebounds.
AJ Mueller recorded game-high totals with his 19 points and six rebounds.

Alex Richard's half-court shot at the buzzer lifted two-time defending WIAC champion UW-Stevens Point to a 69-66 overtime victory over the UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team on Saturday (Jan. 24) in Stevens Point.

Richard secured the rebound off of a UW-Oshkosh missed shot with three seconds left, took three dribbles and heaved the game-winning shot from center court in front of a season-high crowd of 1,981 at Quandt Fieldhouse. It was Richard's only 3-pointer of the game and just his third of the season in six attempts.

The Titans (11-7, 5-4 WIAC) fell into a fourth-place tie with UW-River Falls in the league standings. The Pointers (14-4, 8-1 WIAC) remained alone in second place.

UW-Stevens Point, ranked 15th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, claimed its first lead of the second half at 44-43 on a 3-point basket by Jordan Lutz with 9:27 left in regulation. After UW-Oshkosh came back to tie the score twice, the Pointers increased their lead to 51-48 on a jumper by Austin Ryf with just under eight minutes remaining, but a three-point play by UW-Oshkosh's AJ Mueller knotted the game at 51 at the 6:09 mark.

Another Mueller layup put the Titans up, 55-54, and a jumper by Alex Olson extended their lead to 57-54 with 1:44 to play in the second half. UW-Stevens Point forged a tie at 57 with 46 seconds to go by making 3 of 4 free throws sandwiched around a UW-Oshkosh turnover. Both teams missed jump shots on their final possessions, sending the game to overtime.

Tied at 59, Mueller connected on a 3-pointer at the 3:48 mark in overtime, but UW-Stevens Point's Joe Ritchay cut the Titans' lead to one point with a layup 16 seconds later. Following two UW-Oshkosh turnovers and a missed shot by the Pointers, a basket by Richard put UW-Stevens Point up, 63-62, with 2:11 to play.

The Titans, who were playing their third overtime game in the last four contests, reclaimed a 64-63 advantage on two free throws by Mueller with 67 seconds left, but a 3-pointer by Ryf gave UW-Stevens Point a 66-64 edge with 58 seconds to go. UW-Oshkosh tied it at 66 on Olson's spinning bank shot in the paint with 50 ticks left.

UW-Oshkosh's defense forced a missed jump shot by Ryf with 18 seconds left, but Olson's shot from the right side was well off the mark with three seconds to go, leading to Richard's rebound and half-court heave.

The Titans took a 10-8 lead on a 3-pointer by Charlie Noone with 13:58 to go in the first half and didn't give up that advantage until late in the second period. UW-Stevens Point knotted the game at 22 on a layup by Ritchay with 4:18 remaining in the first, but the Titans scored 10 of the next 14 points to go up six points and match their largest lead of the first half at 32-26 with under a minute before halftime. Two Pointer free throws cut their deficit to 32-28 at the break.

UW-Oshkosh built seven-point leads on two occasions in the second period, including 39-32 after two Mueller free throws with 14:32 left in regulation. A 9-2 run by UW-Stevens Point tied the score at 41 midway through the half. UW-Oshkosh took the lead back on a layup by Bolger at the 9:54 mark before Lutz's 3-pointer gave the Pointers their first lead since the score was 8-7 with 15 minutes to go in the first period

Ryf led UW-Stevens Point with 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the floor. The Pointers also received 16 points from Jordan Lutz and 14 apiece from Richard and Ritchay.

The Pointers ended the game shooting 45.1 percent (23-51) from the field, 50 percent (7-14) on 3-point attempts and 84.2 percent (16-19) from the foul line. UW-Stevens Point committed just eight turnovers while UW-Oshkosh has a season-high 20.

Mueller had a game-high 19 points and six rebounds for UW-Oshkosh. He shot 6 of 8 from the field and 5 of 5 from the foul line. Olson added 10 points for the Titans.

UW-Oshkosh, which had its three-game winning streak snapped, shot a season-best 57.5 percent (23-40) from the floor and 63.6 percent (7-11) from behind the 3-point arc. It was the Titans' best field goal shooting performance in the 119 games since connecting on 58.8 percent against Silver Lake College on Feb. 20, 2010. The Titans also shot 81.3 percent (13-16) from the free throw line and held significant advantages in rebounds (29-18), blocks (6-1) and steals (9-1).

UW-Oshkosh is off until it hosts UW-Stout next Saturday (Jan. 31). The Titans defeated the Blue Devils, 66-60, in overtime on Jan. 14 in Menomonie.