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.