Wheaton (Ill.) defeats No. 2 UW-Oshkosh 86-74; Aston Francis scores 45 points

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Wheaton, Ill. – The Wheaton men's basketball team picked up its biggest victory of the young 2018-19 season on Saturday night as the Thunder defeated No. 2 UW-Oshkosh in the championship game of the 2018 Lee Pfund Classic 86-74. Wheaton improves to 3-0 overall and the Titans are now 1-1.

Thunder All-American Aston Francis tied his career-high with 45 points tonight, earning tournament MVP honors. Francis had a "double-double" as he also grabbed 10 rebounds with five assists. Francis' effort marked the fourth time in his Thunder career that he has scored at least 40 points in a game, the second most 40+ games in Wheaton history. Francis' 45 points is tied for the fifth-highest Wheaton single-game point total in team history and the senior now has four of the program's top-10 scoring performances in history.

Fellow senior Luke Peters joined Francis on the all-tournament team with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Senior forward Kobe Eichelberger had a "double-double" with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Anajuwon Spencer tallied nine points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field with six rebounds.

Head coach Mike Schauer said of the Wheaton win, "I am thrilled with this win. I have been coaching for a long time now and that was a great small-college basketball game from the tip. Both teams were very physical, very gifted and played extraordinarily hard. It was a lot of fun and a great game."

Wheaton led 10-4 in the first four minutes of the game and never trailed in the first half. The Thunder led 38-34 at halftime.

The Thunder led 49-42 with 16:45 remaining in the second half. The Titans responded with eight unanswered points to give UW-Oshkosh its first lead of the game at 50-49 with 15:30 remaining in the game. The one-point edge also marked the Titans' only lead of the game.

Wheaton countered with an 11-3 run over the next 3:10 to take a 60-53 lead with 12:20 remaining in regulation. Francis scored nine of Wheaton's 11 points in the critical run. The Thunder never trailed after the run, and led by as many as 14 points in the second half. Francis scored 28 of his game-high 45 points in the second half.

Wheaton shot 44.3% (27-of-61) from the field, including 34.8% (8-of-23) from three-point range. UW-Oshkosh posted a 32.1% (26-of-81) field goal percentage, including 23.1% (9-of-39) behind the three-point arc. Wheaton shot 77.4% (24-of-31) at the free throw line and the Titans had a 72.2% (13-of-18) effort at the charity stripe. The Titans owned a 50-45 advantage in rebounding, including a 21-7 edge on the offensive glass.

Brett Wittchow, an all-tournament selection, scored a team-high 23 points with seven rebounds for the Titans. Jack Flynn also earned a spot on the all-tournament team, scoring 12 points with 11 rebounds. Adam Fravert tallied 15 points with 11 rebounds and Connor Duax scored 11 points off the Titans' bench.

Wheaton hosts Calvin College Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. in the final game of a four-game homestand.