Ben Boots scored 21 points and Max Schebel added 16 points and eight rebounds as the UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team rode its best shooting performance of the season to a 77-69 victory over UW-Platteville on Saturday (Feb. 11) in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Oshkosh (14-9, 7-5 WIAC), which won its fifth straight game over UW-Platteville, erased an 11-point deficit early in the first half with 13 consecutive points before going on to maintain a lead for the final 28:46 of the contest.
UW-Platteville (8-15, 1-11 WIAC) cuts its deficit to 57-54 with 7:51 remaining, but the Titans scored the next eight points to extend their lead to 65-54 with just over four minutes left, and the Pioneers trailed by at least six the rest of the way.
The Titans, who scored at least 70 points for the 12th time this season, shot a season-high 55.1 percent (27-49) from the floor and made 9 of 19 shots (47.4 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc.
With the win, UW-Oshkosh secures a home game for the WIAC Tournament that commences Feb. 21.
UW-Oshkosh and UW-Eau Claire (17-6, 7-5 WIAC) are tied for third place in the WIAC standings – one game behind second-place UW-Whitewater (19-4, 8-4) – with two league games to play. UW-River Falls (21-2, 11-1 WIAC) secured the outright conference championship and the top seed for the league tournament with its win on Saturday.
Boots connected on 6 of 9 shots from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range, and knocked down five free throws on seven attempts in registering his 17th double-figure scoring effort of the season. He paced the Titans in scoring for the ninth time.
Schebel shot 6-for-8 from the floor and 4-for-7 from the foul line as he finished two points shy of his season high.
Jack Flynn and David Vlotho contributed nine and eight points, respectively, off the UW-Oshkosh bench while starter Taylor Jansen tallied seven points and Charlie Noone six points and a team-leading four assists.
UW-Oshkosh concluded the contest with advantages in field goal (.551 to .463) and 3-point (.474 to .375) percentages as well recording edges in rebounds (33-25) and assists (16-14).
UW-Platteville jumped out to a 13-2 lead at the 14:42 mark of the first half as UW-Oshkosh committed four turnovers in the first five minutes while the Pioneers made 5 of 6 shots from the field during a three-minute stretch.
The Titans responded with 13 consecutive points to claim their first lead at 15-13 on a layup by Flynn with 10:46 left in the opening half. UW-Oshkosh's 13-point skein featured points from four different Titans.
Robert Duax drilled a 3-pointer to put UW-Platteville ahead by a 16-15 count, and Pioneer Colin Kramper hit a jumper to tie the score at 18. Flynn then scored a basket on the ensuing possession as the Titans took the lead for good at 20-18 with 8:46 to play in the first period.
UW-Oshkosh increased its advantage to 33-25 on a layup from Jansen and went into intermission with a 36-28 lead.
Schebel threw down a dunk on the first possession of the second half and drove to the basket for a layup on the Titans' next time down the court to extend the UW-Oshkosh lead to 40-28 with 19:14 left.
Trailing 52-38 with 12:25 to go, UW-Platteville scored 16 of the next 21 points to pull within 57-54 at the 7:51 mark. Duax recorded nine points and Carter Voelker five during the Pioneer's 16-5 scoring run.
UW-Oshkosh regained control by rattling off eight straight points to build a 65-54 lead. Schebel capped the decisive run with a layup and a pair of free throws on consecutive possessions.
A 3-pointer by Kramper pulled the Pioneers within 65-59 with just over three minutes to play, but Noone answered with a 3-pointer on the next Titan possession, and UW-Oshkosh held a lead of at least seven points the rest of the way.
The Pioneers' Duax led all players with 28 points on 10 of 16 shooting from the field. He made 4 of 7 shots from 3-point range and all four of his free throws.
Kramper and Sigel added 10 points apiece for UW-Platteville while Cory Vaassen contributed four points and a team-leading seven rebounds and five assists.
UW-Oshkosh, which owns a 5-0 road record in league play, travels to nationally ranked (18th) UW-Whitewater on Wednesday (Feb. 15). UW-Whitewater defeated the Titans, 73-67, on Jan. 18 in Oshkosh.