Men’s basketball loses quarter-finals at Carthage College

By Farah Bassyouni Feb 24, 2023

Heartbreak in Kenosha as the Illinois Wesleyan men’s basketball team was defeated  74-69 in the quarter-finals of the CCIW tournament against Carthage College on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

A true barn burner in every sense as the Titans and Firebirds exchanged blows until the very end where the Firebirds completed the season sweep winning all three contests against IWU and putting an end to the 2022-23 season for the Titans. 

The tale seen all year for the Titans has been continuous dominance on the glass and in the paint but struggling from beyond the arc both offensively and defensively. 

The three-point shot proved to be the difference maker all night for the Firebirds as they shot 40 percent from beyond the arc propelling most of their offensive output. 

Five consecutive three-pointers to end the first half put Carthage up 41-36 going into the break. 

Foul trouble didn’t benefit the Titans getting into the bonus halfway through the second half, allowing the Firebirds easier access to the paint as they had no success early on. Carthage took advantage of the Titan’s foul drawing fouls to not end a possession scoreless and go to the charity stripe.

At the end of the day what it came down to was making shots. The Titans all year battled hard and gave full effort on every play but the ball bounced the other way for them. 

The pair of seniors Cody Mitchell and Lucas Heflen played their final game in the Green and White as they led the team in scoring once more. The St.Charles natives combined for a career 63-28 overall record together, a pair of regular season titles and one CCIW tournament title. 

Recognized by the league Mitchell garnered a unanimous vote into the All-CCIW First Team as he averaged 15.4 points and 10.2 rebounds a game on the season. Heflen was voted onto the All-CCIW Second Team as he averaged 14.6 points per game over the 16 regular season games. 

Heflen’s performance made it his sixth 20-point game on the year as he shot 8-17 on the night.

Mitchell dropped his 11th double-double of the season with an 18-point and 12-rebound performance. Six of his rebounds came on the offensive side helping the Titans gain an advantage on second-chance points 19-4. 

IWU’s seniors once again put it all on the line as they tried to make tournament history by being the first sixth seed to garner a win since the expansion of six teams. 

The Illinois Wesleyan men’s basketball season comes to an end but there will always be next year as three starters look to return along with young key role players that played important minutes throughout the season. 

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