Following the loss to North Central College on Tuesday, Jan. 31, the Titans broke a two-game losing streak and bounced back from a tough overtime loss to Augustana College. The Titan men’s basketball team cruised to an 84-63 victory at home over North Park University this past Saturday, Feb. 4.
Saturday, Feb 4: Illinois Wesleyan vs. North Park University
Illinois Wesleyan came out on the court this past Saturday with something to prove, scoring the first 10 points of the game. After the Titans extended their lead to 13 at 19-6, North Park went on a 10-0 run and was suddenly just one possession away from tying the game. Illinois Wesleyan responded with a 9-0 tear of their own, to go up 28-16 with 6:05 left in the first half and ultimately took a 38-28 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, the Titans coasted to victory due in large part to their performance in the paint. North Park’s three-point shooting percentage of .385 was surprisingly better than their overall shooting percentage of .362, but, even so, the Titans had them outrebounded 46-27.
Junior Kevin Reed muscled down nine boards for the Titans and, with 10 points, was just one rebound short of a double-double. Sophomore Victor Davis led IWU in points, dropping in 17, and senior Jordan Zimmer added 16 points including four bombs from beyond the arc.
Tuesday, Feb. 7: Illinois Wesleyan vs. North Central College
Tuesday, the Illinois Wesleyan Titans were looking for revenge as they hosted North Central College, who handed the Titans an 82-69 loss earlier in the season.
Fueled by the Shirk crowd’s energy, the Titans started hot for the second game in a row and held a 12-0 lead 4:08 into the contest. But North Central remained calm and chipped away at the Illinois Wesleyan lead, eventually tying the game at 20 with 7:03 to play in the first half.
Although the Titans built their lead back up to five, North Central tied the game at 30 and claimed their first lead of the game: 32-30, with 1:48 left before the break. After Reed finished a fast-break layup, North Central capitalized on two late Titan fouls, sinking four free throws to take a 36-32 lead at halftime.
North Central started strong in the second half, leading by as many as 11 points, 49-38, but Illinois Wesleyan would not give up so easily. The Titans fought back to tie the game at 60 when sophomore Andrew Ziemnik sank a three-pointer with 7:17 left in the game.
The two teams traded punches for the next six minutes, and, with 1:08 to play, the battle was once again tied, this time at 71.
But a North Central three-pointer forced the Titans to foul, and clutch free throws for North Central sealed the deal. The 80-73 loss dropped the Titans to 16-6 overall and 7-4 in conference.
Davis led the Titans with 19 points overall while Zimmer scored 14 before leaving midway through the second half with a neck injury.
The Titans, who have only three games left in the regular season, play on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Carthage College.