By Kinzie Schweigert, Sports editor
The Illinois Wesleyan University men’s basketball team has trumped two more contenders in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.
On Wednesday, Jan. 23 in a game that saw thirteen lead changes, the Titans defeated the North Central Cardinals 69-61 and it was a nail biter.
The Titans were down by five with 10:30 left in the first half, but flipped the switch and went into the locker room at halftime up by four. When the Titans took the court again, they battled to an eight point lead mid-second half, only to have Cardinals tie the game up for the ninth time, at 55-55.
Then, with only 3:34 left in the game, the score was 59-59, but the Titans forged ahead and outscored North Central 10-2 in the last minutes of the game.
The last rally was thanks to two points from sophomore Dylan Overstreet and four from senior Kevin Reed.
Following up on Saturday, Jan. 26, the Titans stomped the Elmhurst Blue Jays 71-52, making an 8-0 record in conference for the first time since the 1996 team won its first nine games in conference action. The Titans are 16-3 overall.
The Titans held the edge for the entire game. Reed snagged a career high 16 rebounds, and he also scored 11 points, while senior Victor Davis added 14.
The Titans were guilty of 17 turnovers compared to the Elmhurst 12, but the Titans were able to capitalize on the Jay’s turnovers and grabbed 15 points.
The Titans also took advantage of Elmhurst’s struggle to score. IWU had a lead of ten on two different occasions in just the first half and took a 33-24 lead before the break at halftime.
“It always helps being able to capitalize on other teams mistakes, especially on the road. It comes down to executing.” Overstreet said.
When they returned to the court, IWU went on a 20-5 point run to further the lead to 53-29 with over 11 minutes left in the game. Elmhurst had one good streak where they cut the lead to just 15 points, but the Titans ended their run short.
The Titans ended the game with a .444 field goal percentage, a 3-point field goal percentage of .316 and a .781 percent from the charity stripe.
This game also means that the men’s win streak is at eight games , but senior Nick Anderson says they aren’t letting that get to their heads.
“I think we learned from last year that we can’t treat a win streak like a win streak,” Anderson said. “When we were winning, we let some glaring mistakes go unnoticed. This year, we have changed that. Our coaches emphasize focusing on being 1-0 every day.”
“It’s where we want to be, but we aren’t satisfied. We still have things to improve on, like executing consistently on both ends of the floor, whether it’s defense or taking care of the ball,” Overstreet said.
The Titans play the Wheaton College Thunder for the second time at home on Saturday, Feb. 2.