Second Half Rally Falls Short for UW-La Crosse

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La Crosse, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse men's basketball team fell 62-60 to UW-Oshkosh Saturday night in Mitchell Hall.  The Eagles, receiving votes on this week's Top-25 Poll, drop to 15-8 overall and 9-3 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) while the Titans improve to 15-8 overall and 8-4 in the WIAC. 

UWL remains in first-place in the WIAC with its 9-3 record with UW-Oshkosh and UW-River Falls are tied for second at 8-4 and UW-Eau Claire is fourth at 7-5.  UWL can clinich at least a share of the WIAC regular-season title with one win in its last two games.  The Eagles travel to UW-Eau Claire Wednesday, February 17 before returning to Mitchell Hall to host UW-Stevens Point Saturday, February 20 in the final regular-season game of the season.

The game featured seven ties in the first half, including 13-13 with 9:44 left after a Jared Staege jumper for UWL.  UW-Oshkosh responded with a 7-0 run to take a 20-13 lead with 6:55 remaining after a Brett Wittchow layup.  The Eagles used a 9-2 run to force a 22-22 tie with 2:29 left on a Austin Fritz jumper, but the Titans scored six of the last seven points of the first half to take a 28-23 advantage.

UWL trailed 37-34 with 13:42 remaining in the game on a Staege jumper before UW-Oshkosh went on a 8-2 run to take its largest lead of the game at 45-36 with 9:35 left on a AJ Mueller layup. The Eagles trailed 51-44 with 6:02 remaining when a 7-0 run forced a 51-51 tie as Fritz made a jumper with 3:55 left.  The Titans took a 57-56 lead with 1:41 remaining on a pair of Mueller free throws, but Staege's layup gave the Eagles a 58-57 advantage with 1:32 left.  Max Schebel (1:08 remaining) and Staege (:54) exchanged jumpers in the paint to give UWL a 60-59 lead.  After a missed jumper, Schebel's layup with :28 left gave UW-Oshkosh a 61-60 lead.  

Staege and Devin Yurk each missed three-point attempts on UWL's next trip down the court.  Schebel was fouled and made the second of two free throws with :06 remaining for a 62-60 lead. After a UWL timeout. Yurk missed a three-pointer with :01 left.  Fritz's layup off the missed shot was after the buzzer as UW-Oshkosh earned its second win over UWL this season.  The Titans won 80-69 January 13 in Oshkosh.

UWL shot 44.2% from the field, including 17.4% (four-of-23) from three-point range, and 83.3% (10-of-12) at the free throw line.  The Eagles shot 55.6% (15-of-27) from the field in the second half after shooting 32.0% (eight-of-25) in the first half.  Staege led UWL with 17 points Saturday, scoring 13 in the second half.  Yurk finished with 16 points, all coming in the second half, while Fritz had 11 points and team-high seven rebounds. 

UW-Oshkosh shot 44.6% from the field, including 8.3% (two-of-24) from three-point range, and 62.5% (10-of-16) at the line.  Mueller led the Titans with 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench while Schebel scored 12 points off the bench.  Alex Olson also had 12 points. 

The teams combined to shoot 12.8% (six-of-47) from three-point range. 

UWL returns to action Wednesday, February 17 at UW-Eau Claire at 7 p.m.