Men’s basketball drop bitter loss of 72-71 at Wheaton

By Farah Bassyouni Jan27,2023

The Illinois Wesleyan University men’s basketball team dropped to an 8-8 overall record on Saturday, January 21 after a heartbreaking 72-71 loss at No.8 ranked Wheaton College. 

Senior Cody Mitchell paced the Titans throughout the game contributing a team-high of 18 points and 13 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Junior Ryan Sroka followed closely, adding a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double of his own. 

Senior and sophomore guard combo Lucas Heflen and Hakim Williams both scored 10 points respectively with Williams adding a game-high five assists. Sophomore Harrison Wilmsen managed 12 points coming off the bench. 

The first half had the Titans and the Thunder exchanging leads back-and-forth with neither team taking a lead higher than six points. A neck-to-neck battle was leveled 35-35 going into the second half. 

The Green and White came out of the half rolling with an early 9-1 scoring run in the first three minutes of the second half and gaining a 44-36 lead. Wheaton continued to claw itself back into the game and went on a 14-4 run that cut the Titan lead. For the remainder of the game, neither team would hold a lead of more than three points. 

With 1:32 left to go Heflen’s three-pointer gave the Titans a slim, 69-68, advantage. The lead was short-lived as the Thunder knocked down a key pair of free throws putting them above by one with 16 seconds left to go.

A big-time bucket and what seemed to be the game-winner by Mitchell reversed the lead once more with a mere six seconds left in the game.

A questionable foul call on Wilmsen led to three last-second free throws for Wheaton to take the lead and evidently close out the game.

  Although the ultimate loss, Illinois Wesleyan led in almost all facets of the game. 

Coming out on top with a 43-30 rebounding advantage which led to a 10-7 lead in second-chance points and a massive 38-16 lead in points in the paint. The Titan bench also outscored the Thunder 14-5. An overall solid offensive night for the Green and White.

The Titans continue CCIW play at Augustana College on Saturday, Jan. 28.

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