Titans Suffer First Loss Of Season

Jack Flynn scored 20 points against the Red Hawks, including this second-half dunk.
Jack Flynn scored 20 points against the Red Hawks, including this second-half dunk.

Seth Kostroski hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining and Ripon College made each of its six free throws over the final 30 seconds as the Red Hawks upset the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team, 83-80, on Saturday (Dec. 30) at the JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells.

UW-Oshkosh (10-1), ranked fourth in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, suffered its first loss of the season despite shooting 56.4 percent (31-55) from the floor.

Ben Boots converted a pair of free throws to give UW-Oshkosh a 75-74 lead with 64 seconds to play, but Kostroski drilled a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to provide Ripon College with its 14th and final lead of the game at 77-75.

UW-Oshkosh committed a turnover on its next possession, and Isaac Masters sank two free throws for a 79-75 Red Hawk advantage with 30 seconds left. After a layup from Boots and a pair of free throws by Kostroski made the score 81-77 with 19 seconds remaining, UW-Oshkosh's David Vlotho drained a 3-pointer to pull the Titans within 81-80 with 12 seconds to go.

Masters then made two more free throws to increase the Red Hawk lead to 83-80 with 10 seconds to play, and a potential game-tying 3-pointer by Boots was off the mark on the final UW-Oshkosh possession.

Ripon College (5-4) concluded the contest shooting 13-for-14 (92.9 percent) from the foul line while UW-Oshkosh converted 12 of 20 (60 percent) attempts at the charity stripe.

UW-Oshkosh outshot Ripon College, 56.4 (31-55) to 47.7 (31-65) percent from the field, but the Red Hawks held advantages in rebounds (29-27), assists (17-13), steals (8-3) and turnovers (13-9). The Red Hawks connected on 8 of 19 (42.1 percent) shots from 3-point range while the Titans went 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc.

Cal Schultz paced Ripon College with 23 points and seven rebounds.

Masters added 16 points and a career-best seven assists for the Red Hawks, who also received 14 points from Trent Jones and eight points apiece off the bench from Koy Brecklin and Kostroski.

UW-Oshkosh's Boots led all players with 25 points while Jack Flynn matched his career high with 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field. Flynn also grabbed a team-leading seven rebounds.

Connor Duax contributed nine points in the reserve role for the Titans.

The teams exchanged the lead five times over the game's first three minutes, but Ripon College extended its advantage to 14-7 on a layup from Jones with 16:34 left in the first half.

The Red Hawks built the largest lead of the game at 22-14 with 13:12 to play in the opening period before the Titans rallied to tie the score at 26 on a 3-pointer from Boots.

UW-Oshkosh reclaimed a 33-31 edge following a three-point play by Charlie Noone with less than five minutes left in the first half, and the Titans owned a 39-38 lead at intermission.

The Titans had their largest leads of the game at 49-44 on a layup from Duax with 15:34 remaining and 51-46 on a basket in the paint by Flynn with 14:36 left, but Kostroski and Schultz drained 3-pointers to give Ripon College a 52-51 advantage.

Duax collected a defensive rebound and soared for a dunk that gave the Titans a 64-61 lead at the 7:22 mark. Boots later hit a jumper for a 73-71 UW-Oshkosh advantage with 3:22 to play, but Schultz answered with a 3-pointer on the following possession to give the Red Hawks a 74-73 lead with 2:51 left.

Saturday's meeting was the 68th between the teams but just the third since the 1990-91 season.

Ripon College, which has a 37-31 record in the series that began during the 1899-1900 season, won the most recent matchup, 66-53, in Oshkosh on Nov. 16, 2012, while the Titans downed the Red Hawks by a 71-56 score during the first round of the NCAA postseason in Oshkosh on Feb. 28, 2002.

UW-Oshkosh begins WIAC play by hosting 11th-ranked UW-Whitewater on Wednesday (Jan. 3) in Kolf Sports Center.

Photo courtesy of D3Photography.com