Assistant Sports Editor
The men’s basketball team headed into this week at 4-3 in the CCIW after a red hot start to the season. However, they knew that their quick start was no fluke.
Junior forward Nate Haynes stated that “we knew we could be good” before the season even started.
Their 0-2 start to conference play with losses to Illinois Wesleyan and North Central notwithstanding, the Wheaton team went on to win four of their next five conference matchups heading into last week.
Haynes, the nation’s seventh leading rebounder, commented that “the early part of our conference schedule does not reflect how good we are. A lot of us had the flu, and we could not get in a rhythm.”
He went on to say that they are now playing a better game with players getting healthy, and that translated into two wins this past week.
With a win on Saturday, Jan. 26, against the No. 5-ranked North Central Cardinals, the Thunder would move into a four-way tie for second place in the conference. Haynes replied that it was going to be “a playoff-type game.”
On Saturday, Jan. 26, the Wheaton Thunder hosted the North Central Cardinals in front of a crowd of 2,582 fans, upsetting the Cardinals 71–69 in overtime.
Head Coach Mike Schauer was proud of his team’s “unbelievable effort” and “ability to win” despite being down eight with 2:12 left in the game. He went on to say that he was “proud of his guys ... that they care, and they want to be a good team.”
He complimented senior captain Nate Serenius, who scored a game-tying field goal with 1:50 left in overtime, was fouled on an offensive rebound of his own shot with 27.5 seconds left, and hit the go-ahead free throw while fighting through injuries to both of his knees. “You gotta love the kid,” Schauer said.
Also contributing to the Thunder’s win were junior guard Tyler Peter’s game-high 20 points and Haynes’ game-high 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Michael Kvam had 14 points off the bench and was 4-8 from beyond the arc.
Sophomore guard Brayden Teuscher added 19 points for the Thunder, with one of his three-pointers tying the game with 35 seconds remaining in regulation. Teuscher then stole the ball with seven seconds left in overtime and hit a free throw to ice the win for the Thunder.
The Thunder improved to 12-1 at home this year and continue, with the help of the fans, to dominate at King Arena. The presence of the Wheaton fans created an “unbelievable crowd, unbelievable atmosphere,” Shauer said.
Haynes remarked that it is “a good feeling, playing in front of the football team and other students who really make a lot of noise when good plays happen.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 30, the Thunder traveled to Chicago to take on North Park (1-9) in a CCIW matchup. They beat North Park 82-70 to improve to 6-3 in the conference. Haynes led all scorers with 23 points and also had a game-high 11 rebounds.
Kvam went 7-11 from beyond the arc to score 22 points. Teuscher had double-digit points with 15. Peters had a game-high 10 assists along with eight points. Sophomore forward Peter Smith had nine points and six rebounds.
Looking ahead to next week, the Thunder will travel to Illinois Wesleyan University (9-0) on Saturday, Feb. 2, to face the undefeated Titans in conference play. They will end the week with a matchup at home against Augustana (5-4) on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Photo Credit: Allison Freet
Printed in the February 1, 2013 issue of The Wheaton Record. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.