Titans secure big win on Senior Night

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Eric Gilbert, Sports Editor

 

It was a special night in the Shirk Center on Saturday, Feb. 21 for many reasons.

The Titans, who at one point appeared to have a post-season spot locked up, had their NCAA tournament hopes on the line. They came out and took care of business against the Blue Jays of Elmhurst in convincing style.

What better way to celebrate senior night than with a 30 point victory, a victory which featured six different Titans scoring in double figures.  Senior Pat Sodemann made the most of his last home game in an Illinois Wesleyan uniform, going 7-11 with three strikes from downtown and 18 points.

Senior captain Dylan Overstreet notched 15 points, eight assists and four rebounds.  He was soon after named “Co-winner of the “CCIW-Player of the Year.”  He earned a first team all-CCIW spot after a second-place nod during his junior year.

He finished just outside the top ten in the league for points with 11.9 and seconds in assists with 4.21.  Other seniors honored for their four year tenure at IWU were Branden Heyen and Jordan Nelson.

“It was a really special night in honoring the seniors for all they have given to the program.  It’s hard to see any senior class go, but this one in particular will be remembered for a long time to come” junior guard Bryce Dolan said.

To cap off a perfect night, former basketball coach and athletic director Dennie Bridges was honored for his legendary career at Wesleyan. Bridges, who coached the Titans’ men’s basketball team to 667 wins over a 36-year span, was alongside former IWU player and NBA all-star Jack Sikma in the formal inauguration of “The Dennie Bridges Court.”

“The naming of the court in Dennie’s honor is a well-deserved tribute to his long and successful career at Illinois Wesleyan,” IWU President Richard Wilson said. “His dedication and commitment as a coach, teacher and administrator have served as a model for many
athletes and friends across the country, in this community and at this university.”

With the win, the Titans propelled their record to 18-7 overall and 10-4 in the CCIW.  The 10-4 conference record gives them the number two seed in the CCIW tournament.  And who else would they play besides the Blue Jays of Elmhurst, of course, who finished third in the CCIW
regular season standings with the loss?

Augustana, who finished first in the CCIW, will play number four seed North Central. The winner of each game will play for championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

As of now, the Titans are on the cusp of making the tournament.  As ESPN’s bracketologist Joe Lunaridi might say, they are toeing the line between being one of the first teams in or first teams out.

A win against Elmhurst will most likely get them in, while a tournament title will guarantee that on top of getting them a favorable seed.

Augustana College will host the CCIW tournament Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28.  Be sure to watch the live stream online as the Titans battle for their post-season life.