Calvin Wetzel | Sports Editor
The up-and-down season for the No. 22 Thunder men’s basketball team continued last weekend in the MIAA/CCIW Classic in Grand Rapids, Mich. The tournament was hosted by Calvin College this year, and also featured Carthage College and Hope College. Wheaton defeated Hope 80-61 on Friday, Dec. 6 before falling to Calvin the following night by a score of 78-51.
Friday night’s contest against Hope (2-4) started out back and forth, as the score stood at 11-10 in favor of the Dutchmen at the 12-minute mark after three lead changes and two ties in the first eight minutes. A three by senior guard Michael Kvam with 11:37 to go in the first half sparked a 10-0 run for the Thunder, however, that would prove to give them the lead for good. Wheaton entered the locker room with a 36-25 lead.
Hope cut the deficit to nine in the first minute of the second half, but senior post Nate Haynes sunk a free throw two minutes into the half that put his team up double figures for the remainder of the game. Hope refused to go away though as the score was even from the 16:47 mark to the 5:17 mark. The deficit remained 14 during that span, but the Thunder finally put the Dutchmen away when a three by junior wing Pete Smith extended the lead to 20.
Senior point guard Tyler Peters led Wheaton in points, assists and rebounds for the second consecutive game with 20, eight and seven, respectively. Haynes scored 14 and pulled down five boards, and junior guard Brayden Teuscher added 17 points. The Thunder shot 65.1 percent from the floor on the night, led by a 9-of-12 performance by Peters and 5-of-5 from Haynes.
The second game of the weekend was a much different story than the first. The No. 14 Calvin Knights, who were coming off of a loss to Carthage (5-3) the previous night, were hungry to get a win over a Whea ton team that had beaten them eight straight years in the MIAA/CCIW Classic. The Knights (6-2) came out hot and never looked back, scoring on each of their first 11 possessions to open up a 24-12 lead eight minutes into the game. Wheaton got the deficit back down to single digits with 11:48 remaining before the break when Peters converted on a three-point play, but after a Calvin layup with eight minutes to go, the lead would remain double figures through the final buzzer.
Peters again paced the Thunder with 21 points, his sixth 20-point effort in eight games. He also grabbed six rebounds and recorded five steals on the night. Teuscher registered 15 points on 5 for10 shooting, and Smith led the rebounding effort with seven. The loss dropped the Thunder to 5-3. Wheaton is 3-0 at home this season and 2-0 at neutral sites, but has yet to win a true road game.
The Thunder will look for a bounce-back victory against Alma College (Mich.) tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. at King Arena. They will then be in action one week from tonight at home against University of Northwestern (Minn.) before getting another crack on the road in their final non-conference matchup against Washington University (Mo.) on Thursday, Jan. 2. All games can be heard on WETN 88.1 FM and can be seen streaming live online via Stretch Internet on athletics.wheaton.edu