Titans advance to second round of NCAA tourney

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  • Jacob Link / Advance-Titan — UWO’s Levi Borchert dribbles the ball against Fontbonne University in the NCAA tournament March 3.

  • Jacob Link / Advance-Titan — UWO’s Will Mahoney drives on a Fontbonne defender in the NCAA tournament March 3.

  • Jacob Link / Advance-Titan — UWO’s Hunter Plamann looks to pass the ball against Fontbonne in the NCAA tournament March 3.

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Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

Senior guard Eric Peterson became the all-time games played leader as the UW Oshkosh men’s basketball team routed Fontbonne University 86-58 at the Kolf Sports Center March 3 to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Peterson, who was named to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Defensive team, played his 123rd game for the Titans (22-6) and scored six points.

“We were able to dominate by just sticking to our gameplan,” Peterson said. “We were really trying to push the ball up the court and we focused on who we are as a team.”

In the first-round matchup against the Griffins (16-12), senior guard Hunter Plamann scored a game-high 13 points and five rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. Forward Levi Borchert finished the game with a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Forward Jonah Rindfleisch had 11 points and eight rebounds while guard Will Mahoney scored 11 points off the bench for UWO

Fontbonne’s Brent Wagner was the only Griffin in double figures, scoring 11 points. The Griffins, who were outrebounded 36-22, shot just 36.1% from the floor and 11.1% from behind the arc.

In the first half, Rindfleisch scored the first points of the game after he nailed a 3-pointer. Quinn Steckbauer added another 3-pointer a minute later and the Titans jumped out to an early 6-0 lead. Fontbonne’s Adam Painter hit a jumper to cut the UWO lead to just two points with just over 15 minutes to play in the first half. Oshkosh responded with a 9-2 run behind six points from Borchert. The Titans held onto at least a five point lead for most of the half and went on a 9-0 run with under seven minutes to go in the period, taking an 11 point lead after a Mahoney layup. Oshkosh exploded from behind the arc, going on another 9-2 run late in the second half to lead 45-27 heading into the break.

UWO head Coach Matt Lewis said the team did a great job of executing the game plan.

“We really emphasized shrinking the floor against (Fontbonne) and finishing on plays,” he said. “I was really proud of our guys with the way they competed each and every possession.”

Early in the second half, Plamann hit a 3-pointer to put the Titans ahead by 22 points and UWO held at least an 18 point lead for the remainder of the game. Oshkosh was on fire from behind the arc in the second half, shooting over 50% from downtown and the Titans grew their lead to 31 points midway through the period. UWO outscored the Griffins 41-31 in the second half to cruise to their 22nd win of the season.

Lewis said his players had a great time playing in a national tournament game at home.

“It was a fun environment for our guys and there aren’t many teams that get this opportunity,” he said. “For these guys to have one more night together in Kolf and to play the way they did with the passion that they came out with, it’s special.”

UWO will take on Hope College (20-9) in the second round of the NCAA tournament March 4 at the Kolf Sports Center at 7:05 p.m. Hope is coming off a 79-65 victory over Bethany Lutheran College in the other NCAA first round matchup at Kolf.