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Pioneers Defeat Titans In Nationally Ranked Matchup

Jack Flynn scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the second half.
Jack Flynn scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the second half.

Quentin Shields scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half to lift UW-Platteville to a 68-62 win over UW-Oshkosh in a battle of national ranked men's basketball teams on Wednesday (Jan. 31) in Kolf Sports Center.

A layup from Shields gave the Pioneers a 64-60 advantage with 37 seconds to play before UW-Oshkosh's Ben Boots made a contested baseline jumper to pull the Titans within 64-62 with 29 seconds left.

The Titans forced a five-second violation on the ensuing inbound play, but Boots missed a potential tying layup with 19 seconds remaining. Matt Oestreich split a pair of free throws to increase the Pioneers' lead to 65-62, and UW-Oshkosh committed a turnover with five seconds to go.

UW-Platteville (17-3, 7-2 WIAC) then sealed the win by converting 3 of 4 free throws over the final five seconds.

The game featured 12 ties, nine lead changes, and neither team led by more than five points until the final free throw with two seconds left.

The Pioneers, ranked 20th in the NCAA Division III by, remain alone in second place in the WIAC standings – one game behind 25th-ranked UW-Stevens Point (14-6, 8-1 WIAC) – with five contests to play.

Eighteenth-ranked UW-Oshkosh (15-5, 5-4 WIAC) is tied for third place in the conference with 12th-ranked UW-Whitewater (15-5, 5-4) and 24th-ranked UW-River Falls (14-5, 5-4).

Shields shot 4-for-5 from the field and 7-for-9 from the free throw line during the second half and concluded the contest 5 of 9 from the floor and 7 of 9 at the foul line. He added a team-leading six rebounds, two assists and three steals in 29 minutes off the Pioneer bench.

UW-Platteville's Oestreich and Robert Duax had 15 points apiece as the Pioneers swept the season series over UW-Oshkosh. The Pioneers won this season's first meeting between the teams, 72-57, on Jan. 17 in Platteville.

The Pioneers out-shot the Titans on Wednesday, 43.1 (22-51) to 37 (20-54) percent, from the field and held edges of 19-13 in turnovers and 9-7 in steals as UW-Oshkosh had its highest turnover total of the season.

UW-Oshkosh out-rebounded UW-Platteville, 42-26, including 23-9 during the first half. The Titans also held advantages of 9-8 in assists and 5-2 in blocks, but UW-Oshkosh shot just 2-for-21 (9.5 percent) from 3-point range while the Pioneers connected on 6 of 13 attempts (46.2 percent) from beyond the arc.

UW-Platteville went into the game leading the country with a .436 3-point percentage while listing eighth nationally with a +15.8 average scoring margin and 10th by allowing 63.6 points per game. The Pioneers also led the WIAC in scoring (79.4), field goal percentage (.508) and assists per game (14.6).

UW-Oshkosh entered the contest ranked sixth in the nation with a +10.1 average rebounding margin while leading the league in opponent field goal percentage (.401), rebounds per game (40.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.19). The Titans were also second in the conference in scoring at 75.2 points per game.

The Titans raced out to an 11-6 lead following a 3-pointer from Connor Duax. Adam Fravert drove for a layup to extend UW-Oshkosh's advantage to 16-11 at the 11:38 mark of the first half, but UW-Platteville scored seven straight points, including a 3-pointer by Robert Duax that gave the Pioneers an 18-16 lead.

UW-Oshkosh reclaimed a 28-23 advantage after a pair of free throws from David Vlotho before UW-Platteville tallied the last five points of the half to tie the score at 28 at intermission.

UW-Platteville took a 33-30 lead on a 3-pointer by Oestreich with 16:11 left in the second half and maintained the advantage until Charlie Noone drilled a long-range jumper to pull the Titans even at 40 at the 10:45 mark.

UW-Oshkosh's Jack Flynn made a layup to tie the score for the 12th and final time at 53 with five minutes to play, but Carter Voelker answered with a 3-pointer with four minutes left for a 56-53 UW-Platteville lead. The Pioneers then maintained the advantage the rest of the way.

Flynn led all players with 21 points, shooting 6-for-9 shooting from the field and 9-for-10 at the free throw line. He entered the game with a league-leading .624 field goal percentage.

Boots added 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Titans, who also received nine points, six rebounds and two steals from Brett Wittchow.

Fravert contributed six points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks for UW-Oshkosh.

The Titans host UW-Eau Claire on Saturday (Feb. 3) in Kolf Sports Center.