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Despite Loss, Titans Claim WIAC Tournament Berth

Andre Wallace scored nine points and grabbed a season-best nine rebounds during 19 minutes of action.
Andre Wallace scored nine points and grabbed a season-best nine rebounds during 19 minutes of action.

Defending NCAA Division III champion UW-Whitewater had three double-digit scorers and never trailed in a 69-47 victory over the UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team on Wednesday (Feb. 18) in Whitewater.

KJ Evans had a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Warhawks, who entered the contest ranked second in the country by D3hoops.com. Evans made 7 of 15 field goals on the way to his seventh double-double of the season.

Cody Odegaard and Quardell Young added 15 points apiece for UW-Whitewater, which has won 15 of its last 16 games. Young, the WIAC leader in assists and steals, had a game-best five assists and three steals.

UW-Whitewater shot 49.2 percent (29-59) from the floor, including 63 percent (17-27) in the second half. The Warhawks also converted 4 of 13 (30.8 percent) 3-point shots from and 7 of 13 (53.8 percent) free throws. UW-Whitewater held advantages in rebounds (40-33), turnovers (8-12) and blocks (3-2).

The Warhawks (21-3, 14-1 WIAC) moved into a first-place tie with UW-Stevens Point with one league game remaining. UW-Oshkosh (13-11, 7-8 WIAC) remained in fifth place, but qualified for next week's WIAC Tournament due to UW-La Crosse's loss at UW-Platteville on Wednesday.

Evans opened the scoring with a layup 16 seconds into the game. UW-Oshkosh's Kyle Bolger tied it at 2 with a layup, but a basket by Young gave UW-Whitewater the lead for good with 17:30 to play in the first period.

UW-Whitewater increased its lead to 18-7 at the 11:14 mark as UW-Oshkosh missed 6 of 9 shots and committed five turnovers during the first nine minutes. The Titans responded with seven unanswered points to pull within 18-14 on a three-point play by AJ Mueller with 9:31 left in the opening period, but the Warhawks held the Titans scoreless for more than five minutes and upped their advantage to 24-14 with under four minutes to go before halftime.

UW-Oshkosh cut its deficit to 24-20 on a layup by Mueller with 2:04 remaining in the first period, but a three-point play by Young at the 1:17 mark gave UW-Whitewater a 27-20 lead at intermission.

The Titans trailed, 40-32, after two free throws by Charlie Noone with 13:33 left, but UW-Whitewater got nine points from Odegaard during a 20-6 run that saw the Warhawks' lead balloon to 60-38 with just over seven minutes remaining. UW-Whitewater made seven straight shots and 8 of 9 overall from the field during the game-changing spurt.

The Warhawks led by at least 21 points for the last 7:08 of the contest, including a game-high 25 points (64-39) at the 3:18 mark.

Mueller had 11 points, five rebounds and two steals for UW-Oshkosh. Andre Wallace added nine points and a team-high nine rebounds for the Titans.

UW-Oshkosh ended the game shooting a season-low 29.8 percent (14-47) from the field, 20 percent (2-10) from beyond the 3-point line and 70.8 percent (17-24) from the foul line.

UW-Oshkosh closes out its regular season against UW-Eau Claire on Saturday (Feb. 21) in Kolf Sports Center. The Titans defeated the Blugolds, 78-66, on Jan. 17 in Eau Claire.