Judah Newby | Assistant Sports Editor
The Wheaton Thunder men’s basketball team came off their week-and-a-half long break from game action with a rousing 84-61 victory over the University of Chicago at home on Wednesday night. The Thunder led from start to finish, overcame a total of 48 fouls called between the two teams, and were able to hold the Maroons cold from behind the arc en route to their fourth win of the season. After starting the year ranked 5th in the country according to d3hoops.com, Wheaton went 3-2 in their first five games, including a close 77-73 loss to then No. 8 College of Wooster in Ohio two weekends prior. The Thunder are now ranked No. 13 in the country.
Senior guard Tyler Peters was dominant in multiple phases on Wednesday night, recording a triple-double — his second of the season — with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Junior guard Brayden Teuscher dropped in 19 points of his own and senior post Nate Haynes nearly grabbed a double-double himself, recording 11 points with nine rebounds. Sophomore forward Joel Smith, making his first start for the Thunder, hit twice from three-point range and finished with 8 points for the home team.
The University of Chicago came into Wednesday’s game boasting an impressive team three-point percentage at 44 percent, but shot just 3-for-14 from behind the arc in the first half. The Maroons struggled significantly from the floor in the opening minutes, and recorded their first point a total of seven minutes into the contest. By that time Wheaton had already established offensive momentum, and led 16-0 at the 13:00 mark.
The Thunder kept up the momentum well into the half and took a 46-27 lead at halftime. The 46 points are the second-most the team has scored in a half all season, the highest being a 49-11 halftime lead against Blackburn College in the season-opener. Wheaton continued to outscore the Maroons 38-34 in the second 20 minutes, not allowing Chicago to get closer than 13 points of the lead, and going on to win 84-61.
Wheaton shot 48 percent from the field and made 26 of their 34 free throw attempts, a 76 percent clip. Chicago struggled from three early and often, making only five of their 19 attempts from range for a 26.3 percent. Chicago finished 40 percent from the floor for the game.
Wheaton improves to 4-2 overall on the year, and continues their challenging schedule this weekend with a pair of contests against rival opponents in the annual MIAA-CCIW Challenge, hosted this year at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Thunder take on Hope College (Mich.) on Friday evening at 6 p.m. ET, then take on the Knights of Calvin College, currently ranked No. 9 in the country, at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon. The Thunder defeated both opponents in the Challenge last season in King Arena, beating Calvin 54-37 and edging Hope 79-75. Both games can be heard on Stretch Internet, via the link on athletics.wheaton.edu, and can be followed on twitter @WETNSports.