Wheaton concludes its sensation 2019 season in loss to UW-Oshkosh in the D3 National Semifinal

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Fort Wayne, Ind. – The Wheaton Thunder men's basketball team had its sensational 2019 postseason run ended on Friday night. No. 4 ranked UW-Oshkosh defeated the Thunder 104-85 in the NCAA Division III National Semifinal at Fort Wayne's Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. UW-Oshkosh will play Swarthmore College on Friday night at 7:06 p.m. (EDT) in the Division III National Championship Game.

Aston Francis scored 44 points, tallying 40 or more points for the 10th time this season and the 14th time in his career. Francis added six rebounds, three assists, with two steals. Francis set four Division III Men's Basketball Tournament records with his phenomenal postseason run. His 44.8 points per game in the tournament breaks the previous tournament record of 37.3 points by Kyle Myrick of Lincoln (Pa.). Francis scored 224 points in Wheaton's five postseason games to break the previous tournament record of 177 points by Williams' Michael Nogelo in 1998, The Thunder senior made 72 field goals in this year's tournament as he broke the previous tournament record of 68 field goals by Greg Grant of TCNJ in 1989. Francis' 36 three-pointers in the tournament surpassed the old tournament record of 35 treys made by Augustana's Kirk Anderson in 1993.

Luke Anthony and senior Kobe Eichelberger each tallied 10 points for the Thunder. Eichelberger grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and Luke Peters added six rebounds. Nyameye Adom tallied nine points with seven rebounds.

Wheaton head coach Mike Schauer reflected, "I am really proud of my team. The five guys that were on the floor to finish the game for us were on our team when we won five games. We had a postseason meeting after that and talked about getting back to the NCAA Tournament and the things that needed to happen." Schauer concluded, "The core and culture of our team was really formed by those five guys who refused to let us stay there."

Wheaton posted a 41.7% (30-of-72) field goal percentage, including 34.4% (behind the three-point arc. The Titans shot 47.4% (36-of-76) from the field, including 48.1% (13-of-27) from three-point range. Wheaton had an 82.4% (14-of-17) free throw percentage and UW-Oshkosh shot 79.2% (19-of-24) at the charity stripe. The Titans out-rebounded the Thunder 49-39, including a 15-10 advantage on the offensive glass. 

Schauer noted of the game, ""When you lose, you often want to come up with explanations, excuses, but in reality at this point, all you can really do is tip your hat to them," He added, "I thought they [UW-Oshkosh] were sensational. We could not find a way to stop them, they are so balanced."

The Titans led 15-9 with 13:49 remaining in the first half when a pair free throws by Eichelberger sparked 11 unanswered points for the Thunder. The Wheaton run over 3:35 gave the Thunder a 20-15 lead with 10:14 remaining in the first half. Wheaton led 34-30 with 3:55 left in the first half when the Titans' Adam Fravert made a layup  to spark a 12-0 UW-Oshkosh run that was capped by a Ben Boots three-pointer with 1:53 left in the first half to give his team an eight-point lead at 42-34. The Titans led 46-41 at the halftime intermission. Francis scored 23 points in the first half.

UW-Oshkosh held a five-point lead at 64-59 with 12:29 remaining in the second half when the Titans scored eight unanswered points to take a 72-59 lead with 11:01 remaining in the game. The Titans continued to maintain a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game to secure the 104-85 victory. 

Five Titan players scored in double digits tonight. Jack Flynn, Ben Boots and Brett Wittchow each scored 21 points for UW-Oshkosh. Adam Fravert tallied 19 point and Connor Duax scored 14 points. Flynn grabbed 15 rebounds, while Boots and Fravert each had eight boards.  

Note Worthy: Francis concludes the season with a Division III record 1,096 points this season and his 173 three-pointers in his senior campaign is the second-highest single-season total all-time in Division III...Francis' school-record 388 career three-pointers is seventh in Division III history...he is second in program history with 2,396 points and is fifth in CCIW history...his 773 career made field goals ranks second all-time in Wheaton history...Francis is fifth in team history with 443 career made free throws...Luke Peters is seventh in Wheaton history with 327 career assists and his 135 assists this year ranks eighth in the program's single-season record book...Francis concludes his career ranked 11th in program history with 287 career assists.