Ups and downs

Have you ever wondered how the Wheaton men’s basketball team gets their energy or what fuels them to perform each day? According to junior Ricky Samuelson, it’s yogurt.
As he chuckled, Samuelson said, “It’s an event we have once in awhile. We go to Jewel, we get a ton of Yo-Crunch yogurts and just chill out and eat our yogurt.”
 
On a more serious note, the Thunder have been looking to their young team to find the energy they need as they are without any seniors this year. “We have some young leaders that have stepped up. They have been more vocal and giving more energy,” said Samuelson.
 
The Thunder went on the road last Saturday night to play in a hostile environment against rival North Central College. The rivalry did not disappoint — from the tip-off to the final whistle — as the teams battled it out in a back-and-forth game.
 
The Thunder came out strong as sophomores Luke Peters and Aston Francis put the first five points on the board to give Wheaton a 5-0 lead early on. The men continued to push as they found themselves with their largest lead of the game: six points with the score 31-25 and only 2:35 remaining in the first half. Unfortunately, North Central was able to get a late push as they went on a 8-3 scoring run in the final two and a half minutes to decrease the Thunder’s lead to one point as the half ended 34-33 in Wheaton’s favor.
        As the second half began, the game was quickly tied at the 17:34 mark with a score of 38-38. Immediately following that tie, North Central went on a 15-2 run to give them a 53-40 lead with only 9:40 remaining in the game. The Thunder pushed to decrease the lead and were almost successful as they cut North Central’s margin to seven points at 57-50 with 4:40 left, but were unable to get any closer as North Central continued to push. The Thunder fell by a final score of 69-55.
        The Thunder looked to bounce back from a tough loss as they returned to King Arena to host 16th ranked Augustana College on Wednesday night. The game proved to be a nail biter as the Thunder looked to take down Augustana as the underdog. The Thunder took charge and had an eight point lead at the 11:55 mark in the first half. Augustana eventually bounced back and held their own eight point lead in the second half with only 7:51 remaining in play. Unfortunately, the Thunder ultimately fell by a score of 59-57. Francis led Wheaton in scoring with 19 points on the night.
         As the Thunder’s season winds down, it will be important for them to get a some key wins down the stretch so they can have a chance at the conference tournament. Samuelson explained, “We need to play well these last seven games to get into the postseason. We are hopeful that we can work hard and get the wins we need.”
        The Thunder continue their conference play as they host Elmhurst College this Saturday night at 7 p.m. at King Arena.

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