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Titans Unable To Remove Pointers From Conference Lead

Ben Boots had 21 points, eight assists and three rebounds against the Pointers.
Ben Boots had 21 points, eight assists and three rebounds against the Pointers.

MJ Delmore led all players with a career-high-tying 23 points as UW-Stevens Point remained tied atop the WIAC men's basketball standings with a 77-70 victory over UW-Oshkosh in a battle of nationally ranked teams on Wednesday (Feb. 14) in Stevens Point.

UW-Stevens Point (17-7, 11-2 WIAC), ranked 19th in the NCAA Division III by, reclaimed the lead for good at 6-4 with 17:13 left in the first half. The Pointers extended their advantage to 19-13 and led by at least five points for the remainder of the contest.

The Pointers, who won their 10th consecutive home game, avenged a 68-53 loss at UW-Oshkosh on Jan. 24. UW-Oshkosh had won its previous three games in Stevens Point.

UW-Stevens Point is tied for first place in the league standings with sixth-ranked UW-Platteville (21-3, 11-2 WIAC) with one game to play.

Nineteenth-ranked UW-Oshkosh (18-6, 8-5 WIAC) remains alone in third in the conference, one game ahead of defending champion UW-River Falls (16-7, 7-6) and two games clear of UW-Whitewater (16-8, 6-7).

Delmore shot 6-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range, and 8-for-8 at the free throw line on Wednesday.

Canon O'Heron added 16 points and a team-leading five rebounds for the Pointers, who also received 11 points off the bench from Mark Nelson and 10 points from starter Nate Dodge.

UW-Stevens Point concluded the contest with advantages in field goal (.521 to .424) 3-point (.450 to .391) and free throw (.818 to .733) percentages. The Pointers also held edges in steals (5-4) and blocks (2-0) while the Titans had a 32-31 lead in rebounds. Both teams had 14 assists and 10 turnovers.

The Pointers, who shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the 10th time this season, went 25-for-48 from the field, 9-for-20 from beyond the arc and 18-for-22 at the foul line.

The Titans shot 25-for-59 from the floor, 9-for-23 from 3-point range and 11-for-15 at the free throw line.

UW-Oshkosh, which owns a 4-3 record against nationally ranked opponents this season, went into the contest fifth in the country with a +9.5 average rebounding margin. The Titans also paced the conference in rebounds (39.4) and assists (14.3) per game, blocks (66) and free throw attempts (495).

Ben Boots led UW-Oshkosh with 21 points and matched his career high with eight assists. Boots, who shot 6-for-7 at the free throw line, went into the game pacing the WIAC with 4.2 assists per contest, a 2.23 assist-to-turnover ratio and a .853 free throw percentage.

UW-Oshkosh's Jack Flynn contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds for his team-leading seventh double-double of the season. He collected six boards on the offensive end after entering the game averaging a WIAC-high 3.6 offensive rebounds.

Adam Fravert, the league's leading rebounder at 7.6 per game, added 12 points and six rebounds for the Titans.

UW-Oshkosh scored four of the game's first six points before Delmore tied the score at 4 with a layup and O'Heron gave the Pointers their only lead at 6-4 with a basket in the paint.

Brett Tauber drove for a layup to extend UW-Stevens Point's advantage to 37-24 with 3:02 left in the first half, and the Pointers went into intermission with a 39-30 lead.

UW-Stevens Point built its largest lead of 15 points at 50-35 with 14:29 to play.

Trailing 58-47 with 6:40 left, UW-Oshkosh trimmed its deficit to 61-56 on a tip-in by Flynn at the 3:15 mark, but Delmore answered with a 3-pointer 22 seconds later that extended the UW-Stevens Point lead to 64-56.

Fravert hit a 3-pointer to pull the Titans within 66-61 with 91 seconds remaining. Nelson then split a pair of free throws for a 67-61 UW-Stevens Point advantage before UW-Oshkosh missed two 3-pointers and a free throw on its next possession.

O'Heron made two free throws to give UW-Stevens Point a 69-61 lead with 46 seconds left, and the Pointers, who shot 10-for-10 at the foul line during the final minute, led by at least five points the rest of the way.

UW-Oshkosh closes the regular season at UW-Stout on Saturday (Feb. 17).