OSHKOSH, Wis. – Adam Fravert had 26 points and nine rebounds in the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh's 82-79 victory over Guilford College in Saturday's NCAA Division III Tournament quarterfinal in the Titans' Kolf Sports Center.
Wisconsin-Oshkosh (27-3), the defending national runner up, returns to the tournament semifinals for the second straight season. The Titans play Wheaton (Ill.) College March 15 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Wheaton ousted Marietta College Saturday, 91-87, behind a Division III Tournament-record 62 points by Aston Francis.
Ranked fourth in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll, the Titans led throughout and were up 54-42 after 6-8 center Jack Flynn's layup with 16:51 left in regulation. Guilford (24-8), however, was not finished. The Quakers hung around and worked the deficit down to one on three separate occasions.
"I thought it was one heck of a college basketball game," Guilford head coach Tom Palombo said. "We got down early and battled back like we have all year long.
"They're very aggressive offensively and very aggressive defensively. They altered shots at the rim and made it tough on us, but we battled the whole time. I can't say enough about our guys."
Flynn's free throw with 61 seconds left opened an 80-73 advantage, but Guilford had one more run. Jaylen Gore made two free throws on the ensuing Quakers' possession. Following a Flynn turnover, Guilford's Carson Long scored inside to make it 80-77 with 33 ticks left. Guilford called timeout and the Quakers' Joah Logan made a steal that resulted in two more Gore free throws with 27 seconds remaining.
With his team's lead down to one, the Titans' Brett Wittchow evaded Guilford's attempt to foul and found David Vlotho for an open layup with 19 seconds left, which provided the game's final margin. Guilford's Kyler Gregory and Gore both had 3-point shots in the waning seconds, but neither fell as time expired.
"We had two good looks at it, so I'm not disappointed with that," Palombo said.
Wisconsin-Oshkosh's Fravert made 10-of-11 shots from the floor, including 6-of-7 3-pointers. The Titans connected on 8-of-16 first-half trifectas but shot just 3-for-11 from distance in the second half. Flynn finished with 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Connor Duax, who scored 26 in Friday's third-round win over Loras College, added 11 Saturday. Despite missing all seven 3-pointers, Jostens Trophy finalist Ben Boots chipped in with 10 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
Guilford's Gregory led all scorers with a career-high 31 points, 17 in the second half, and picked up six rebounds. He shot 12-of-26 from the floor and 6-of-9 from the free-throw line. Long shot 4-of-7 from 3-point land and tallied 18 points in his final college game. He also had a team-high eight rebounds.
"I put everything I had into it. I don't have any regrets," Long said. "It's a great way to go out. We came up a little short, but I don't have any regrets. I loved it, every minute of it."
Gore finished with 12 points, five assists, and no turnovers in 35 minutes. Guilford's top scorer, senior Marcus Curry, managed four points and five rebounds before fouling out with 5:41 left in the game.
The loss marked Guilford's first to a nationally ranked team in seven tries this year and ended Guilford's sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Quakers also reached the national quarterfinals in 2007, 2009, and 2010.