In like Flynn: UW-Oshkosh wins title

The UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team, along with CBS Sports broadcaster John Sadak, with the 2019 Division III national champion trophy.
Photo by Steve Frommell,
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Jack Flynn scored a career-high 33 points and UW-Oshkosh became the first team to go from national runner-up to national champ in more than 40 years as the Titans defeated Swarthmore 96-82. 

Flynn was dominant on the inside on offense for the Titans (29-3), and it was the Titans who went Team Swat on Swarthmore, as UW-Oshkosh blocked eight shots and altered countless more in the win. Zac O'Dell made 11 of 19 shots, but he also had three shots blocked. Nate Shafer was 2-for-9 and was blocked twice.

As in the national semifinals, UW-Oshkosh scored the first eight points. But they added another 3-pointer to make it 11, and led by as many as 15 in the first half. But the Garnet (29-4) battled back to cut the lead to three in the first half and were within eight at halftime, despite shooting 3-for-11 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.

Flynn scored 18 of his points in the second half, and sophomore Connor Duax scored 12 of his 16 after halftime as well. 

Backup guard Abass Sallah hit an unexpected 3-pointer to get Swarthmore within seven, at 80-73, with 5:08 left. But Shafer missed a layup and Flynn rebounded. Following a timeout, Adam Fravert hit a 3-pointer at the top of the key with 3:30 left to give UW-Oshkosh a 10-point lead and the Titans cruised to the win, hitting 13 of 16 free throws the rest of the way.

The Garnet, one of the best defensive squads in the nation, gave up their highest point total of the year and allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the field for only the third time this season. Swarthmore had not allowed more than 95 points in the 187 games since a 97-67 loss to Old Westbury on Dec. 30, 2012.

UW-Oshkosh becomes the fourth school in the WIAC to win a Division III men's basketball national title, and brings the WIAC its 13th title overall. Swarthmore was vying to win the first national championship for the Centennial Conference, and the first for the Mid-Atlantic since Catholic U. won it all in 2001.

The win makes Matt Lewis a national champion in his first year as head coach, a year in which he was actually the interim head coach of the Titans, as per hiring policy for state jobs in Wisconsin.

The All-Tournament team: Jack Flynn, UW-Oshkosh (most outstanding player); Adam Fravet, UW-Oshkosh; Cam Wiley, Swarthmore; Zac O'Dell, Swarthmore and Aston Francis, Wheaton.