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Starters combine for 95 points, lead Titans to National Championship game

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Starters combine for 95 points, lead Titans to National Championship game

UWO junior center Jack Flynn shoots a floater over Wheaton College junior Spencer Peterson during the Titans' victory over the Thunder. Flynn scored 21 and pulled down 15 rebounds for UWO.

UWO junior center Jack Flynn shoots a floater over Wheaton College junior Spencer Peterson during the Titans' victory over the Thunder. Flynn scored 21 and pulled down 15 rebounds for UWO.

Lydia Sanchez

UWO junior center Jack Flynn shoots a floater over Wheaton College junior Spencer Peterson during the Titans' victory over the Thunder. Flynn scored 21 and pulled down 15 rebounds for UWO.

Lydia Sanchez

Lydia Sanchez

UWO junior center Jack Flynn shoots a floater over Wheaton College junior Spencer Peterson during the Titans' victory over the Thunder. Flynn scored 21 and pulled down 15 rebounds for UWO.

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UW Oshkosh is headed to its second straight National Championship after defeating Wheaton College in their national semifinal game by a score of 104-85.

UWO was led by seniors Brett Wittchow and Ben Boots as well as junior Jack Flynn who all scored 21 points apiece. Flynn also added 15 rebounds to cap his 10th double-double of the season.

Flynn said it was important for him to rebound effectively to not allow Wheaton to get second chances on possessions.

“All week in practice, the coaches made it a point that we must finish off every play and keep them to one shot especially with someone like Aston Francis,” Flynn said. “You don’t want him getting a second shot if he misses that first one.”

The Titans were able to hold Francis to 23 points on 38 percent shooting in the first half.

Francis was coming off a 62-point performance in the Thunder’s Elite Eight victory over Marietta College a week ago so the Titans made sure to keep the senior in check.

Head coach Matt Lewis said his best defenders were up to the task in defending the talented guard.

“I’d be remissed if I didn’t mention Connor Duax, our big wing, and Eric Peterson, off the bench,” Lewis said, “those two guys were incredibly disciplined on [Francis]. Our goal was to make him go left and try to be as disciplined as possible and not foul him. I’m really proud of the way those two guys competed.”

Getting Flynn the ball in the post has been a corner piece of the Titan offense all year and Boots said nothing changed in the game today.

“Before every game, it’s always one of our focuses; to throw the ball inside and make the defense make a choice,” Boots said. “With Jack, he’s a load to take one-on-one. We’re lucky to have really talented big guys.”

Titan head coach Matt Lewis talks to his starters during a timeout at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. With the win, the Titans advance to play Swarthmore College in the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball National Championship Game.

Lydia Sanchez
Titan head coach Matt Lewis talks to his starters during a timeout at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. With the win, the Titans advance to play Swarthmore College in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball National Championship Game.

The Titans started out the game strong on an 8-0 run with two threes from junior forward Adam Fravert who ended up with 19 points and eight rebounds on the night.

After a back and forth first half, UWO used a 14-0 run to take a 46-41 lead into the break.

Within the first five minutes of the second half, Duax poured in seven points to spark a 14-4 run to put the Titans up by 10 and force the Thunder to take a timeout.

UWO then kept the pressure on, using stifling defense and hot 3-point shooting to build their lead to 21 at its largest.

All five Titan starters scored in double digits as Duax rounded out the lineup with 14 points and five rebounds.

The Titans out-rebounded Wheaton 49-39 and had a five-rebound advantage on the offensive glass. Those offensive boards led to 18 second-chance points for UWO.

Oshkosh shot 47 percent from the field and 48 percent from beyond-the-arc in the contest.

The Titans held Francis to 44 points on 15-38 shooting from the field and 5-20 from the three-point line. Excluding Francis, the rest of the Thunder shot 50 percent from the three-point line and Francis had only two assists on the evening.

UWO will face Swarthmore College in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball National Championship game tomorrow night at 6 p.m. central time. Oshkosh will be looking to win its first Division III title in program history.

This is the Titans’ second-straight trip to the national championship game. UWO lost in the title game last year to Nebraska Wesleyan University by a score of 78-72.

Boots said the team’s experience of going to last year’s Final Four has helped them during this trip.

“We’ve been fortunate to be here last year as well so we were able to replicate a lot of the things we do,” Boots said. “A lot of it is just staying true to ourselves and just try to be us.”

About the Contributors
Neal Hogden, Managing Editor

The College of Letters and Science at UW Oshkosh is proposing to increase teaching loads in 2019-20 in an effort to overcome a $1 million budget shortfall.

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Starters combine for 95 points, lead Titans to National Championship game