Category Archives: Basketball

A loss for men’s basketball

February 1 2018

Following their devastating 86-84 loss to Augustana College — the second ranked team in the conference behind Illinois Wesleyan University — the Wheaton Thunder Men’s Basketball team suffered another tough loss on Saturday, Jan. 27. This one came by way of a 94-75 loss to another division adversary, Millikin University.

The first half was as competitive as can be expected in a divisional bout. The Millikin University Big Blue led the Thunder by a mere three points, outscoring them 43 points to 40. The second half was cluttered with struggles for Wheaton both on the offensive and defensive game.

On offense, the Thunder struggled from the field, shooting only 41.4 percent. In particular, they could not find any luck from three-point range. For the game, Wheaton made seven three-point shots out of 29 attempts. In the second half, they made three out of 17 from three-point territory.

Defensively, the Thunder were not able to block a single Millikin shot in the game. They also were able to get only two steals throughout the game. Millikin University shot a sharp 59% from the field. Wheaton was outscored 51 points to 35 in the second half.

Junior guard Aston Francis scored 20 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out five assists. He was successful in getting to the rim with 13 attempts from the stripes, of which he made 10. Senior guard Ricky Samuelson added 15 points, making five of his 11 shots. Junior forward Kobe Eichelberger contributed 15 points as well the two Thunder steals of the game.

The Record was able to reach Aston Francis and inquire about the team’s next steps following the disappointing loss. He said, “I would say the next step for our team is to just keep our head down and keep grinding. You can’t react too much to a bad loss, just like you can’t react to a big win. We just have to continue to work hard in practice and compete to the best of our ability.” When talking about how the team will improve going forward he stated, “We have to keep a certain level of intensity defensively for the rest of the year.”

The Wheaton Men’s Basketball team is now ranked fifth in their conference. Their next game is against Elmhurst College on Feb. 3rd in King Arena at 7 p.m.


Eight straight wins for women’s basketball after two more

January 25 2018

The Wheaton women’s basketball team has extended their win streak once again and have won eight games straight since Dec. 30, 2017. After a grueling couple of weeks, the Thunder basketball women got a well-earned weekend off of CCIW competition before returning to conference action yesterday night. The Thunder beat Trinity Christian College (Ill.) on Friday, Jan. 19 with a final score of 94-51.

After a slow first couple minutes, Trinity was able to get up on the Thunder 11-7 with 5:20 left in the first quarter. However, once those minutes passed, the game was all Wheaton. Sophomore Kristi Demski made four three-pointers in a row to help put Wheaton up 26-17 at the end of the first quarter.

Going into the second quarter, Wheaton’s strong starters senior Maggie Dansdill and sophomore Jordan Myroth both had strong scoring performances before they were sat on the bench to rest with a little more than three minutes left in the quarter. Senior Hannah Frazier also had a strong scoring performance in the second after she had a slower start in the first.

In the second half, senior Kelly Lawson, Dansdill and Demski led their team in scoring with 15, seven, and six points respectively. Throughout the second half, Wheaton continued to pull ahead and was able to extend their lead to 43 points by the end of the game. All around, this game was dominated by the more-talented Thunder team.

Yesterday night Wheaton played CCIW rival Augustana College, and the Thunder boomed over the Vikings with a final victorious score of 79-57. Frazier had another strong scoring performance as she scored 27 points.

Dansdill scored 18 points, but she also had three steals, the most of any of her teammates. Dansdill spent the most time on the court of her teammates.

The Thunder used every opportunity they could get and scored 15 points off of turnovers and 18 bench points.

Augustana was only able to outscore Wheaton 17-16 in the final quarter, but, besides that, Wheaton outscored the Vikings in the other three quarters 18-12, 20-16, and 25-12.

The Wheaton women’s basketball team will travel to Millikin University for yet another CCIW game at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27. Millikin is 0-8 when played CCIW teams and has an overall record of 5-12.

Wheaton is now ranked second in the conference with a 7-2 CCIW record and a 14-4 overall record. Illinois Wesleyan is the top ranked team in the CCIW with a conference record of 9-0 and overall record of 16-2.


One strong win and one close loss for men’s basketball

January 25 2018

The Thunder Men’s Basketball team is coming off of their seventh win in eight games after defeating the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Scarlet Hawks on Saturday Jan. 20, 2018. The game was a closely contested battle in the first half with the Thunder just edging the Scarlet Hawks with 37 points to 36.

Contrary to the first, the second half was much more of a one-sided affair. The Thunder’s stifling defense turned out to be the difference in the second half. The defense accumulated seven steals and scored 29 points off of turnovers. In particular, they were able to protect the rim with 10 blocks, half of which (five) came from sophomore forward Jay Spencer.

Junior guard Aston Francis said that “when we play with intensity on the defensive end we have been pretty special.” He had a very well-rounded game, raking in 24 points, dishing out seven assists and grabbing six boards.

Junior forward Kobe Eichelberger added 20 points and nine rebounds. He lauded his team’s play this year: “I love watching us play. If I wasn’t on the basketball team, I would definitely pay money to come and watch Wheaton basketball.”

Eichelberger has good reason to be excited about this team. Wheaton has amassed 13 wins this season while just dropping four games. That record is good enough to rank the Thunder second in the CCIW.

The game Wednesday, Jan. 24, was a vital inner-conference bout with Wheaton facing the Augustana Vikings, who were tied for second in the conference with the Thunder. Junior Francis expressed gratitude for the fans this year: “We really appreciate the support we have been getting from the community. The rest of our home games are incredibly important, especially this Wednesday night against Augustana College, so we need everyone to come out and support!” Support will be crucial for this team to reach its goals this year.

The team hopes to win their conference and qualify for the NCAA tournament this spring. Spencer laid out why this goal is so important this year. He said, “When Coach Schauer brought in my recruiting class last year he promised every player that they would make it to the NCAA tournament at the end of the year. We have a little over a month to make that promise come true for the seniors we have on this team. They’ve been great teammates to everyone and we owe a lot of our success to the the sacrifices they have made over their years here.”

While this team has monumental goals on the court, their culture off the court is what fuels their optimistic spirits about this season. All the players that I spoke with stressed how close this team is.

Francis stated the following when asked about the team’s chemistry: “Our practices have been much better and more competitive than last year because we have been a lot more energetic than last year. That has a lot to do with the closeness of our team. We are all very close and hang out outside of practice a lot. The fact that we are so close makes us want to practice and play harder for the guys next to us.”

Spencer said, “Off the court we are like a family of 21 brothers including our manager, Brady.” The team staying together for Thanksgiving and Christmas break was instrumental in their remarkable team chemistry. Kobe Eichelberger said that “the team definitely bonded over Thanksgiving and Christmas break when we felt as if we were the only people on campus. We had some great pranks, pillow talks, and Olive Garden runs.”

Unfortunately, the Thunder men’s basketball team lost a close matchup to Augustana College yesterday night with a final score of 86-84. Augustana is now ranked second in the conference behind Illinois Wesleyan University, and Wheaton moves down from being tied for second into third place in the CCIW.

Wheaton Men’s Basketball’s next game is Saturday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. at Millikin University.


Women’s Basketball extends win streak to six games

January 18 2018

With big conference wins over North Central College and Carroll University, the Wheaton Women’s Basketball team continues to prove that they are one of the top teams in the CCIW.

From the get-go on Saturday, Jan 13, the Thunder outshot and outplayed the North Central Cardinals. Wheaton scored six unanswered points in the first quarter before North Central scored a three-pointer. By the end of the first quarter, the Thunder women were up 20-13.

A defensively dominated second quarter resulted in both teams only scoring single digits. Wheaton scored eight points in the second while North Central scored seven. The score at the half was 28-20.

After a fast three-pointer by senior Kelly Lawson to start the third quarter, Wheaton continued to control the game and maintain their lead. They outscored North Central 27-11 this quarter. Heading into the fourth quarter North Central tried to make a comeback, but ultimately, their deficit was insurmountable. Wheaton was outscored by the Cardinals 24-17 in the fourth quarter, but came out with the 72-55 “W.”

Yesterday night the Thunder hosted Carroll University for a CCIW matchup, and Wheaton put on quite the offensive and defensive show. The final score of the game was 82-36, and Wheaton led the whole game.

Sophomore forward Hannah Frazier scored the first two points of the game, and senior guard Maggie Dansdill was scoring almost as frequently as her teammate. Dansdill had two steals in the first half and was 2-2 from the free throw line. Wheaton lead the game 44-16 at the end of the first half.

Wheaton continued to control both sides of the court during the second half by scoring 38 points and holding Carroll to 20 points. Dansdill and Frazier both continued to lead their team with scoring, and Wheaton was able to take home another victory. The Thunder have won six games straight.

With only two days of separation, the Thunder women’s basketball team returns to action tomorrow night at 7:00pm. Wheaton will host Trinity Christian College of Illinois in King Arena in the Chrouser Sports Complex. Trinity Christian College is 9-12 overall this season.

Wheaton is now 12-4 overall so far this season, and their CCIW record is 6-2. In other news in the CCIW, the Illinois Wesleyan University women’s basketball team is currently ranked 18th in Division III women’s basketball as they have not lost since Nov. 25, 2017.


Men’s Basketball splits two CCIW matchups

January 18 2018

After a close loss to North Central College, Wheaton College rebounded with a strong victory over another CCIW rival Carthage College.

From the start on Saturday, Jan. 13, both of these CCIW teams were pretty evenly matched. North Central scored the first two points of the game, but the majority of the first half was back and forth.

“I thought we competed really hard against North Central,” senior Aston Francis said. By the end of the first half, Francis himself had scored 20 points already. Junior Trevor Gunter had scored eight points. On North Central’s side of the ball, they had three players score nine points or more. By the end of the first half, the score was tied at 41 even.

In the second half, Wheaton pulled ahead with a small, early lead. As the half went on, North Central began to pull away with an 11 point lead with 30 seconds left. “I thought we could have knocked down some shots at the end,” junior Kobe Eichelberger said. “We had some great opportunities at the end, but simply could not knock down shots. Missing all but one of their seven free throw attempts and capitalizing on four of their 16 three-pointer attempts, Wheaton struggled to get shots through the net while North Central succeeded in scoring when Wheaton did not.

“We just didn’t play very well in the second half, but the fact that we still had chances to win without playing well gives us some confidence,” Francis said.

Going into yesterday night’s game, Eichelberger said that, “we will need to focus on our defense and our ball movement against Carthage. Carthage’s biggest strengths would be their size and their individual talent.”

Francis reiterated that, “Carthage has some good posts that could give us trouble, but we have a solid game plan for them.”

Whatever their plan or strategy was, it worked. Yesterday night Wheaton beat the Carthage College Red Men 90-81 to improve the Thunder’s overall record to 12-4 and their CCIW record to 6-2. Wheaton scored the first points of the game when Eichelberger got a defensive rebound and scored a fast three-pointe. Throughout the first half, Wheaton capitalized on more of their opportunities with better field goal percentages across the board. At the end of the first half Wheaton was leading the Red Men 45-37.

The second half started out very strong for Wheaton as they extended their lead to 19 points at 8:43 in the half. However, Carthage tried to pull off a comeback in the later part of the half. Wheaton was able to keep Carthage from cutting their lead to under 4 points.

Throughout the game, Wheaton scored 11 second chance points, 9 points off of a fast break, 12 points off of turnovers, and 32 total points in the paint.

The Thunder men’s basketball team will return to King Arena this Saturday, Jan. 20 for a game against Illinois Institute of Technology at 7:00pm. The Scarlet Hawks are 11-5 so far this season, and they have three players who have scored more than 200 points so far this season. Wheaton’s Francis has scored 442 points this season, and senior Ricky Samuelson have scored 287 so far.


After a tough loss, Men’s Basketball wins five straight

January 11 2018

After a tough loss to Alma College on Dec. 16, 2017, the Thunder went 4-0 against Whitworth University, George Fox University, Carroll University and North Park University.

Alma College raced onto the court on Dec. 16 and came away with the early lead at the end of the first half, outscoring Wheaton 52-41. However, Wheaton climbed back to make the game close by outscoring Alma 41-35 in the second half. Junior Aston Francis made six three-pointers throughout the game and scored the most points, 28. Senior Ricky Samuelson made five three-pointers and scored a total of 19 points. Despite good rebound performances by junior Luke Peters (9 rebounds) and junior Trevor Gunter (8 rebounds), Alma did end up holding out for the W.

The game against Whitworth college on Dec. 19 started and ended very differently. Whitworth was ranked seventh in DIII Men’s NCAA Basketball before the Thunder beat them 92-84. Wheaton played hard and played better than Whitworth at almost every level of the game, beating Whitworth in every statistic except for steals.

Sophomore Spencer Peterson scored a personal season high of 19 points, and Francis continued his scoring consistency with 21 points on the game. Head coach Mike Schauer was impressed with his team’s performance as well, and called out preseason All-American Francis on his stellar assist performance (nine total assists). Sophomore Jay Spencer led the Thunder in rebounds with a season high of eleven rebounds throughout the game. Across the court, Wheaton showed up to play and their efforts were rewarded with a big victory.

The Thunder ended 2017 with an 86-81 victory over George Fox University on Dec. 22. Junior Kobe Eichelberger led the team in field goals made and points by making 11 three-pointers and scoring 28 points, a career high point total for the guard/forward. Samuelson had another strong performance and scored 23 points and made nine field goals.

During the first week of January, the Thunder had two big CCIW matchups and two big victories. The first “W” was on Jan. 3rd, 2018 over Carroll University with a final score of 97-92. Francis scored 40 points against Carroll which tied him for 12th on Wheaton’s single game scoring list. Eichelberger scored 18 points as well but also led the team in rebounds with nine total.

The Thunder put on a show on Jan. 6 when they beat North Park University 98-59. Controlling the game from the start, Wheaton had five players score in double digits: Francis (20), J. Spencer (13), Samuelson (13), Eichelberger (13), and freshman Zac Hollman came off the bench to score 10 points as well.

Last night the Thunder traveled to Augustana to take on the Augies. Wheaton won 86-81 in a tight CCIW matchup. Francis put Wheaton up 39-33 at the half after downing a three-pointer. Francis scored 40 points against Augustana to tie his own 12th place position again on Wheaton’s single game scoring list. Eichelberger scored 15 points during the game by sinking four three-pointers, and Samuelson also put a double digit point total with 14 points.

Two road trips, then back to CCIW competition

January 11 2018

After a successful trip to Holland, Michigan and a journey to Gallatin, Tenn., the Wheaton Women’s Basketball team had two strong CCIW wins to start of the new year.

After finishing their finals, the Wheaton women competed in the Hope College Post Exam Jam Tourney where they handily beat Rochester College (69-59) and Finlandia University (85-50). Of the eight total quarters of play that Wheaton participated in, they were only outscored in three of those quarters by three points or less (two quarters against Rochester and one against Finlandia). In the Finlandia game, Wheaton outscored the Lions 24-2 in the second quarter of play.

Thunder junior Devin Kyler was awarded the tournament MVP award. Kyler scored 31 points and had 10 rebounds during the tournament. Senior Maggie Dansdill and sophomore Hannah Frazier were named to the all-tournament team as well.

Wheaton finished out their 2017 competition at the Music City Classic hosted by Volunteer State Community College. Despite a 25-point scoring effort by senior guard Kelly Lawson, the Thunder lost to the University of Scranton 67-53 on Dec. 29, 2017. Wheaton was simply outplayed by the then-20th nationally ranked Scranton on nearly every level of the court. Coming out strong initially in the first quarter, the Thunder looked like they would keep pace with the Lady Royals. The Scranton defense then held the Thunder to under 20 points in every quarter that followed.

Looking for redemption, the Thunder boomed onto the court against Marywood and won 75-42. Wheaton outscored their opponent 22-7, 17-10, 18-12 and 18-13 in each quarter. Frazier led the team offensively by scoring 12 points, but sophomore Jill Berg followed close behind with 11 points and two steals. After having a rough three-game point drought, sophomore Kristi Demski was able to score nine points and also had a steal.

Returning back to the Chicago wind and northern winter chill, the Thunder hosted CCIW opponent Carthage College on Jan. 4, 2018. The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 3, 2018, but a power outage at Tarble Arena in Kenosha caused the game to be postponed and the location be moved to King Arena on Wheaton’s campus. Wheaton improved their overall record to 8-4 and their CCIW record to 2-2 after a 72-59 victory over the Lady Reds. Frazier, Dansdill, Kyler and sophomore Jordan Myroth all scored double digit numbers with 24, 17, 13 and 11 points respectively. Frazier did get the Thunder rumbling and rolling by scoring the first six points of the game, and she started the second half in similar fashion by stretching the Thunder’s lead to 17-points.

On Jan. 6, the Thunder won a critical CCIW matchup against North Park. Although both teams came into the game with the same records, the final score of 87-56 displayed who was truly the better team. Frazier scored 16 points during the game, and Kyler scored 11 points as well. The Thunder women outscored the Vikings by at least seven points in every quarter except the final quarter where both teams scored 17 points. Frazier’s performances against Carthage and North Park earned her CCIW Player of the Week honors.

Yesterday evening, the Thunder hosted Augustana, another CCIW team, and won 73-56. Augustana then fell to 9-4 overall and 2-2 in the CCIW while Wheaton improved to 9-4 overall and 3-2 in the CCIW.

Wheaton Men on the Court

December 7, 2017

After beating Millikin on Saturday, Dec. 2, Wheaton lost a nail-biter to IWU yesterday night.

Against Millikin, the Thunder boomed onto the court early and pulled ahead 13-3 before the first five minutes of the game had passed.

Junior Aston Francis said, “I thought we executed our offense really well against Millikin. We did a good job of moving the ball and getting good shots.”

By halftime, Wheaton was ahead by 18-points with a score of 46-28. However, later in the game, Millikin was able to have a 12-2 run and get within seven points of the Thunder.

Then, Wheaton had an 11-2 run to make the score 67-55 with under eight minutes left in the game, and Millikin was unable to regain ground. The final score was 78-68.

“Our biggest success was probably our ball movement on offense,” junior Reagan Jones said. “We were able to shoot the ball pretty well and when we share it like we did the other night we can be a really proficient offensive team.”

Every offensive shooting percentage (free throws, field goals and three-pointers) was advantaged to Wheaton over Millikin.

“We definitely could have done a better job on the glass. All five of the guys on the floor had to help out on rebounds because Millikin is such an athletic team,” Francis said. Millikin did out-rebound the Thunder 35-29 during the game.  

Francis lead the Thunder with 31 points, making four three-pointers throughout the contest.

Going into yesterday’s IWU game, Jones said that “tonight is all about Brady Rose,” and the game really was all about Brady Rose.

IWU’s senior guard, Rose lead his team to a tight victory over the Thunder, and he scored 26 points during the game.

Francis said that Wheaton needed to focus on limiting IWU’s three-point opportunities if the Thunder wanted to beat them. IWU had 26 three-point attempts and made nine. Wheaton had 32 three-point attempts and made 11. IWU did outscore the Thunder in the paint 34-28. Ultimately, the IWU game came down to the last two minutes. Senior Ricky Samuelson was able to put Wheaton up 76-74 with 1:40 left in the game, but then IWU senior Jaylen Beasley made a three-pointer at 1:28 to put themselves up 77-76. Francis was fouled, missed his first free-throw attempt, but then made the second, tying the game at 77-77 with 1:09 left. Rose was fouled and made both of his free-throws to put IWU up 79-77 with 48 second left. Francis was fouled again, but he made both free-throws this time to tie the game at 79’s. Beasley made another three-pointer to put IWU up 82-79, leaving Wheaton one second to try to score. The Thunder could not tie the game to send it to overtime, and IWU ended up winning the game 82-79.

Wheaton is travelling for an away conference matchup on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. at Elmhurst College.

Wheaton Women on the Court

December 7, 2017

On Saturday, Dec. 2, the Wheaton Women’s Basketball team beat Millikin University, but yesterday night the Thunder fell to Illinois Wesleyan’s team in a tough away game.

This weekend, the Thunder opened up CCIW play with a 63-46 victory over Millikin lead by senior Maggie Dansdill and sophomore Hannah Frazier, who both scored 12 points on the night. Sophomore Jill Berg said that “Hannah Frazier finished around the rim really well.”

Last week’s Star Player sophomore Devin Kyler scored 10 points while senior guard Kelly Lawson scored 10 points as well.

Berg said that her teammates “worked really well on defense.” During the second quarter, the Thunder outscored the Big Blue 12-2.

“We’ve been struggling on rebounding, so we need to pick that up again,” Berg said. Millikin did out-rebound the Thunder 44-41, but Wheaton had a 12-11 advantage on the offensive glass.

Before yesterday’s game, Berg said that, “Illinois Wesleyan is our toughest opponent. They were ranked in the preseason to win conference, so we all really want to win over them.”

Wheaton ended up falling to IWU 88-81 yesterday night despite an impressive 25-point game for Frazier. The three-pointer advantage went to IWU who had 8 out of their 12 attempts fall through the net compared to Wheaton’s 4 out of 16.

IWU also had 11 steals in comparison to the Thunder’s five steals throughout the game. Wheaton did out-rebound IWU 39-32, which is a major improvement from the Millikin game.

Wheaton is now 4-2 overall so far this season and 1-1 in conference play.

The Thunder women’s basketball team is travelling to Elmhurst College this weekend for another CCIW matchup on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.

Men’s Basketball Tip-Off

November 30, 2017

The Thunder opened their season by hosting the annual Lee Pfund Classic. The tournament spanned two days and featured Wheaton, Baldwin-Wallace University, DePauw University and UW-River Falls with each team playing two games. The Thunder opened the weekend tournament by defeating DePauw Friday night. The Thunder went on a 20-1 scoring run midway through the first half that put them up 43-15 at the half. DePauw rallied in the second half, outscoring the Thunder 44-37, but it was ultimately too little, too late as the Thunder advanced to the tournament championship game with an 80-59 victory.

The next night, the Thunder met Baldwin-Wallace University in a battle for the tournament crown. The game was a back-and forth affair, as the score was knotted at 36 at the half and neither team was leading by more than six points. The teams entered the last minute of play tied at 72 before senior guard Cam Kuhn hit a jumper to put Baldwin-Wallace up by two with 23 seconds on the clock. However, Thunder senior guard Ricky Samuelson was able to knock down a jump shot while being fouled, tying the score and giving the Thunder a chance to win on the free throw. The free throw attempt was good with nine seconds left, and the Thunder were able to hold on, winning the game 75-74, and winning the tournament in the process.

After their strong start to the season, the Thunder headed to Michigan over the break to take on Calvin College Tuesday night. The Thunder came back down to earth a little, as they were unable to contain Calvin’s offensive onslaught and dropped a high-flying contest 96-86. Six Calvin players scored 10 or more points, and the 96 points allowed represented the most allowed by the Thunder since December 17th of last year, when they allowed 97 against Alma College.

Photo by Immanuel Kyun

The Thunder then traveled to Franklin, Ind. to take on Franklin College. The game stayed close early on, but the Thunder were able to pull away late in the first half and take a 46-34 lead at the half. The Thunder held onto that lead through the second half, going on to win 83-70.

As Thanksgiving break drew to an end, the Thunder returned home to face the University of Chicago on Wednesday night.   

Ricky Samuelson had a memorable performance in the Lee Pfund Classic, as he went 22 of 26 on field goals (84 percent) for 63 total points over the two games. His efforts also earned him tournament MVP and CCIW Player of the Week honors.

Head coach Mike Schauer remarked that he was very pleased with his team’s start to the season, especially in the Lee Pfund Classic. “We’ve played [in the Lee Pfund Classic] I don’t know how many years, and we’ve done well in it,” he said. “It’s nice to get home games. Basketball’s a sport where home wins are how you butter your bread. You have to win at home. Huge two wins to get our season started.”

The Thunder will get a chance to pick up another home win on Saturday as they host Millikin at 7 p.m.