Wed, Nov. 20, 2013 - [Men's Basketball]
#5 Wheaton 73
The Loras College men's basketball team earned their first win of the season on Tuesday night by upsetting fifth-ranked Wheaton College 74-73 in the Athletics and Wellness Center.
From the tipoff, the game was a back and forth contest with the teams trading baskets. Neither team led by more than three until Wheaton took what would be their largest lead of the game, 24-17 with 7:53 remaining in the first half.
As both teams continued to adjust to the new rules regarding on-the-ball defending, they spent the final seven minutes of the half in the bonus. Wheaton shot 8-of-10 from the line while Loras made 8-of-8 during that stretch before Loras junior Bobby Harmening drained a three pointer with under a minute to play sending the teams into halftime tied at 35-35.
The second half began similar to the first with the teams exchanging baskets. With 14:47 to play the Duhawks found themselves down 48-43 and looking up at six team fouls.
Another strong shooting performance from junior Aaron Schueller and sparks of the bench by Luke Barry and Mirko Grcic provided the Duhawks with a 19-3 run giving them the largest lead of the game, 59-51.
After a pair of Nate Haynes free throws, Wheaton used a timeout. The decision proved to be timely for the Thunder as they rattled off a 12-2 run to take a 63-61 lead with eight minutes to play.
Trailing by two with just under five minutes remaining, Loras went on a 6-0 run of their own to take the lead 72-68 forcing Wheaton to call a timeout. Out of the timeout Wheaton's Michael Kvam pulled the Thunder within one on a three pointer from the baseline.
A missed jumper by the Duhawks gave Wheaton the ball with 2:05 to play and a chance to take the lead. A layup attempt was blocked by Loras sophomore Justin Schneider but fell into the hands of Wheaton. A quick pass from Peters to Brayden Teuscher for a short range jump shot gave the Thunder a 73-72 lead with 1:36 left in regulation. Loras head coach Greg Gorton elected to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, Nathaniel Smith split the lane but his layup attempt fell short.
With a minute to play, Thunder guard Tyler Peters ran down the shot clock before making a layup. However, the shot was waived off as Loras' Alex Cline drew a charge.
Down by one point with just 27 seconds left in regulation, the Duhawks called another timeout. Out of the timeout the Duhawks set a series of screens eventually freeing up junior Nathaniel Smith. As Smith began his move and a drive to the basket, Wheaton's Nate Haynes was called for a foul sending Smith to the line with just 8 seconds left and a chance to take the lead.
After a Wheaton timeout Smith stepped up to the line. Smith sunk back-to-back free throws for his fifth and sixth points of the game and gave the Duhawks a 74-73 lead.
Following the Smith's second free throw, Wheaton quickly inbounded the ball to Tyler Peters who raced the ball up the court. Peters' last effort at the buzzer bounced off the back iron before falling off the rim, sealing the victory for the Duhawks.
The Duhawks used a balanced attack to tackle the Thunder with every player who saw the floor scoring. Aaron Schueller had a team-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Luke Barry played 18 productive minutes with 13 points, going 11-12 from the free throw stripe, and a team-high five assists before fouling out. Bobby Harmening and Cline chipped in nine points each while teammates Ryan Coon and Mirko Grcic added eight each. Smith finished with six points and four assists. Loras' bench outscored Wheaton's bench 27-9.
Combined with their balanced offensive attack, Loras forced Wheaton into 18 turnovers while committing just 10 of their own. The team shot 44.0% for the game and 50% from behind the arc. A solid performance from the line (23-27) gave the Duhawks their best free throw percentage (85.2%) of the season.
Wheaton was led by senior Tyler Peters. Peters had a game-high 26 points while teammate Brayden Teuscher added 19. The Thunder shot 48.9% from the field and 43.8% from three point range.
The Duhawks look to build on their win over Wheaton when they host Millikin University on Friday, November 22nd at 7:00 p.m. and Illinois Wesleyan at the same time on Saturday.