Men’s basketball clinches playoff birth

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By: William Heidenreich, Sports Editor

On Friday, Feb. 23, at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, the Titans men’s basketball team suffered their second lost to North Central College in four days by a score of 70-64.
The loss makes their overall record 19-7. The game was part of the CCIW semi-finals, and a win would have given the Titans their third shot at a conference title since their last victory in 2014.
The Titans could not seem to get it going from the field, shooting a dismal 25-of-65 (33.8%), marking their second lowest shooting percentage of the season, their lowest coming against Emory University on Feb. 28.
Game stat leaders included sophomore Alex O’Neil with a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
O’Neil, a sophomore transfer, played a season at St. Cloud College before transferring to Creighton College, where he redshirted, soon finding his home at IWU wearing green white. “Coach Rose is well-known as a great coach person. He recruited me in high school so I already knew him well,” said O’Neil, “The players here were welcoming when I took my visit, too.”

Junior Colin Bonnett scored 13 points, trailing O’Neil’s point total by one.
Junior Jason Gregoire and senior Brady Rose joined their fellow upperclassman in double digits, Gregoire with three three-pointers, finishing with 11 points, and Rose ending the night with 10 points.
Despite their shaky shooting from the field, the Titans went 11-for-12 from the free-throw line, in addition to out-rebounding North Central 38-35.
Despite their loss, the Titans were given a bid in the 2018 NCAA DIII Basketball Championships.
On Friday, March 2, the team will play The College of Wooster in their first game of the tournament.
The tournament will be held at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center, located on the campus of campus of John Carroll University in University Heights, OH.
Wooster, with an overall record of 21-6 has won 18 of their last 21 games, and will be a challenging opponent for the Titans.

This year will mark the teams’ first tournament appearance in two years, and number 25 out of the last 35 years. This years playoff appearance will also mark the seventh playoff appearance for Head Coach, Ron Rose, who is in his 11 season with the Titans.
If the Titans are victorious on Friday, they will advance to the second round of the tournament, where they will play the winner of John Carroll University and Thomas Moore University.