UW-La Crosse scored the last 10 points of the game and pulled out a 66-61 upset win over the nationally ranked and outright WIAC champion UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team Wednesday (Feb. 13) in La Crosse.
UW-La Crosse (16-8, 9-4 WIAC) faced a 61-56 deficit following a jumper from UW-Oshkosh's Ben Boots with 2:49 remaining. The Eagles began their comeback with a layup from Taulvish McCray before Ben Meinholz scored their next six points for a 64-61 advantage with 27 seconds remaining.
UW-Oshkosh (22-2, 12-1 WIAC) missed a jumper on the ensuing possession, and UW-La Crosse's Brendon Manning put the game away with a pair of free throws that created the final score with 16 seconds left.
With the victory UW-La Crosse remains in second in the league standings, one game ahead of UW-Stevens Point (16-7, 8-5 WIAC) with one contest remaining. UW-Oshkosh will be the top seed and UW-La Crosse the second seed at the WIAC Championship that commences next week.
UW-Oshkosh, which last Saturday (Feb. 9) clinched the program's first outright WIAC title since 1978, had its nation-leading 21-game winning streak snapped. The Titans, ranked third in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, suffered their first loss since an 86-74 setback at Wheaton College (Ill.) on Nov. 17. UW-Oshkosh's 21-game winning streak was tied for the fourth longest in WIAC history.
The Eagles had lost each of their four previous meetings with the Titans, including a 72-66 decision Jan. 19 in Oshkosh.
Manning paced UW-La Crosse with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds while Meinholz added 12 points and Josh Dahlke had 11 and eight boards off the bench for the Eagles.
UW-La Crosse shot 41.9 percent (26-62) from the field, 20 percent (3-15) from 3-point range and 84.6 percent (11-13) at the free throw line. The Eagles owned advantages of 43-32 in rebounds, 10-11 in turnovers and 8-4 in steals. UW-La Crosse is just the second team to outrebound UW-Oshkosh over the past 26 games.
UW-Oshkosh, the top-scoring team in the WIAC at 83.7 points per game, was held to its lowest scoring output of the season after shooting 39.3 percent (22-56) from the floor, 34.6 percent (9-26) from behind the 3-pioint arc and 66.7 percent (8-12) at the foul line. The Titans compiled slim advantages of 11-10 in assists and 4-2 in blocks.
UW-Oshkosh's Adam Fravert led all players with 21 points to go along with a team-best nine rebounds and two steals. He tied his career high with five made 3-pointers on 10 attempts.
Brett Wittchow contributed 13 points and a game-high four assists for the Titans, who also received 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists from Boots. Jack Flynn chipped in nine points and six rebounds for UW-Oshkosh. Boots moved into eighth on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,567 career points, surpassing Jim Capelle's total of 1,559 from 2004-07.
UW-La Crosse reserves accounted for 25 points and 16 rebounds while UW-Oshkosh's registered one rebound and zero points.
UW-Oshkosh led for the entire first half after Fravert drained a 3-pointer on the opening possession of the game. A Wittchow 3-pointer extended the Titan advantage to 16-7 with 10:22 to play in the first period, and UW-Oshkosh went into intermission with a 30-27 lead behind 10 points from Wittchow.
UW-La Crosse took its first lead of the night at 33-32 on a layup by Dahlke with 16:56 remaining in the second half.
Trailing 49-45 with 8:34 to go, UW-Oshkosh scored the next nine points – all on Fravert 3-pointers during a span of 66 seconds – to reclaim a 54-49 lead with 6:59 left. Boots later slashed through the lane for a layup to increase the UW-Oshkosh cushion to 56-51 at the 6:24 mark.
Fravert misfired on a 3-point attempt that would give upped the UW-Oshkosh lead to four with less than a minute to play. Meinholz then scored in the paint to give the Eagles their final lead at 62-61 with 44 seconds remaining. The Titans' next two possessions resulted in a missed 3-pointer and a turnover before a pair of free throws by Meinholz extended the Eagle advantage to 64-61 with 27 seconds to go.
UW-Oshkosh missed a jumper on the following possession, and Manning iced the game with two free throws that created the final score with 16 seconds left.
The Titans conclude the regular season at UW-Eau Claire on Saturday (Feb. 16). UW-Oshkosh beat UW-Eau Claire, 85-63, Jan. 23 in Oshkosh.