After a tough loss to Alma College on Dec. 16, 2017, the Thunder went 4-0 against Whitworth University, George Fox University, Carroll University and North Park University.
Alma College raced onto the court on Dec. 16 and came away with the early lead at the end of the first half, outscoring Wheaton 52-41. However, Wheaton climbed back to make the game close by outscoring Alma 41-35 in the second half. Junior Aston Francis made six three-pointers throughout the game and scored the most points, 28. Senior Ricky Samuelson made five three-pointers and scored a total of 19 points. Despite good rebound performances by junior Luke Peters (9 rebounds) and junior Trevor Gunter (8 rebounds), Alma did end up holding out for the W.
The game against Whitworth college on Dec. 19 started and ended very differently. Whitworth was ranked seventh in DIII Men’s NCAA Basketball before the Thunder beat them 92-84. Wheaton played hard and played better than Whitworth at almost every level of the game, beating Whitworth in every statistic except for steals.
Sophomore Spencer Peterson scored a personal season high of 19 points, and Francis continued his scoring consistency with 21 points on the game. Head coach Mike Schauer was impressed with his team’s performance as well, and called out preseason All-American Francis on his stellar assist performance (nine total assists). Sophomore Jay Spencer led the Thunder in rebounds with a season high of eleven rebounds throughout the game. Across the court, Wheaton showed up to play and their efforts were rewarded with a big victory.
The Thunder ended 2017 with an 86-81 victory over George Fox University on Dec. 22. Junior Kobe Eichelberger led the team in field goals made and points by making 11 three-pointers and scoring 28 points, a career high point total for the guard/forward. Samuelson had another strong performance and scored 23 points and made nine field goals.
During the first week of January, the Thunder had two big CCIW matchups and two big victories. The first “W” was on Jan. 3rd, 2018 over Carroll University with a final score of 97-92. Francis scored 40 points against Carroll which tied him for 12th on Wheaton’s single game scoring list. Eichelberger scored 18 points as well but also led the team in rebounds with nine total.
The Thunder put on a show on Jan. 6 when they beat North Park University 98-59. Controlling the game from the start, Wheaton had five players score in double digits: Francis (20), J. Spencer (13), Samuelson (13), Eichelberger (13), and freshman Zac Hollman came off the bench to score 10 points as well.
Last night the Thunder traveled to Augustana to take on the Augies. Wheaton won 86-81 in a tight CCIW matchup. Francis put Wheaton up 39-33 at the half after downing a three-pointer. Francis scored 40 points against Augustana to tie his own 12th place position again on Wheaton’s single game scoring list. Eichelberger scored 15 points during the game by sinking four three-pointers, and Samuelson also put a double digit point total with 14 points.