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Titans Reach 20 Wins For Second Straight Season

David Vlotho scored a career-high 13 points with three steals against the Warhawks.
David Vlotho scored a career-high 13 points with three steals against the Warhawks.

Adam Fravert's 19 points led five UW-Oshkosh players in double figures as the nationally ranked Titans knocked down 15 3-pointers on the way to earning a convincing 85-67 victory over UW-Whitewater in a matchup of the top offenses in the WIAC on Monday (Feb. 4) in Kolf Sports Center.

UW-Oshkosh (20-1, 10-0 WIAC), ranked third in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, reclaimed the lead for good at 21-20 on a layup from Fravert with 7:45 left in the first half. The Titans later scored eight unanswered points for a 39-24 advantage with 65 seconds to play in the opening period and went on to lead by at least 11 points for the last 22:52 of the contest.

The Titans went into the game leading the WIAC by averaging 85.1 points per game, while the Warhawks were second at 81.6.

UW-Oshkosh's 18-point win is its largest against the Warhawks since a 108-89 victory on Feb. 7, 1976. The Titans also defeated the Warhawks, 82-75, Jan. 16 in Whitewater and swept the regular season series against UW-Whitewater for the first time since 2004-05.

Monday's victory also increased the Titans' lead in the conference standings to two games over 25th-ranked UW-La Crosse (15-6, 8-2 WIAC) with four contests remaining.

UW-Oshkosh, off to its first 10-0 league start, extended program marks for best record to begin a season and consecutive wins with 19. The Titans, who picked up their 15th straight home win dating back to last season, surpassed the previous school record of a 9-0 WIAC start established during the 1967-68 campaign. Their 19-game winning streak is the seventh longest in WIAC history.

Fravert scored 15 of his team-leading point total in the first half and finished the game shooting 7-for-14 from the field, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range, to go along with seven rebounds, two assists and a pair of blocks. He increased his WIAC-best block total to 43 on the season.

Ben Boots added 16 points and three assists for the Titans, who also received a career-high 13 points and three steals from David Vlotho, and 11 points from Brett Wittchow. UW-Oshkosh's Connor Duax contributed 10 points, a team-best eight rebounds and a career-high six assists. Boots, a D3hoops.com preseason All-American, committed just one turnover after heading into the night with a conference-best 2.26 assist-to-turnover ratio.

UW-Oshkosh's Jack Flynn chipped in eight points and eight rebounds.

The Titans secured their third straight win over the Warhawks and the fifth in the last six meetings by shooting 44.6 percent (29-65) from the floor, 48.4 percent (15-31) from beyond the 3-point arc and 63.2 percent (12-19) at the free throw line.

UW-Oshkosh, which made at least 11 3-pointers for the ninth time this season, owned advantages in rebounds (40-34), assists (17-12), turnovers (9-12) and steals (7-4). Both teams recorded five blocks. The Titans have now outrebounded 22 of their last 23 opponents.

The Titans entered Monday ranked seventh in the country with a +19.0 average scoring margin, eighth with a +10.3 average rebounding margin and 10th with a 1.52 assist-to-turnover ratio. UW-Oshkosh was also pacing the conference in rebounds (40.9) and assists (16.1) per game, made 3-pointers (196), blocks (87) and both field goal percentage (.407) and 3-point field goal percentage (.314) defense.

UW-Whitewater (14-7, 3-7 WIAC), which suffered its third straight loss, shot 45 percent (27-60) from the field, 37.5 percent (6-16) from 3-point range and 77.8 percent (7-9) at the free throw line despite entering the night leading the conference in both free throw attempts and made free throws.

The Warhawks' Melvin Brown Jr. scored 10 of his team-high 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting from the floor in the first four minutes of the game but shot just 1-for-8 for the remainder of the contest.

Andre Brown, Riley Jensen and Dalton Menke each had 10 points for the Warhawks. Menke collected a team-high five rebounds while David Sachs, the WIAC leader in assists per game and made free throws, shot 2-for-2 at the foul line en route to scoring four points and dishing out a game-high eight assists.

Neither team led by more than four points until UW-Oshkosh's eight-point run turned a 20-19 deficit into a 27-20 lead following a Vlotho 3-pointer at the 5:04 mark of the opening period. The Titans extended their scoring run to 20-4 during a span of more than seven minutes to increase their lead to 39-24 with under two minutes to play before intermission.

UW-Oshkosh's 20-4 run featured six points from Fravert, five apiece from Volotho and Wittchow, and four from Duax. Fravert notched a steal and skied for a two-handed dunk that upped the Titans' lead to 37-24 with 2:04 left in the first half, and Duax capped the run with a layup 23 seconds later.

UW-Whitewater shot just 2-for-11 from the field and committed four turnovers during the Titans' game-changing run that stretched from the 8:36 mark of the first half until Brown scored in the lane to pull the Warhawks within 39-26 with 1:24 to go before intermission.

The Warhawks made 16 of their 30 second-half field goal attempts but never got closer than 11 points during the second period. UW-Oshkosh held its largest lead of 27 points at 77-50 after a Fravert layup with 6:44 left.

With the triumph Monday, UW-Oshkosh interim head coach Matt Lewis' .952 winning percentage (20-1 record) continues to lead all 2,189 active NCAA men's and women's basketball coaches.

Monday's contest was originally scheduled to be played last Wednesday (Jan. 30) but was postponed due to extreme low temperatures.

UW-Oshkosh plays at UW-Platteville on Wednesday (Feb. 6). The Titans defeated UW-Platteville, 96-70, during the WIAC opener Jan. 2 in Oshkosh.

Photo by Steve Frommell, D3Photography.com