Men’s basketball begins season with a non-conference victory

Emily Thompson

Senior captain Matthew Leritz shoots and scores in the first game of the basketball season. Photo: IWU Sports

The Illinois Wesleyan men’s basketball team brought home an 81-61 victory against Lake Forest in order to open their 2021 non-conference season. The Titans are starting the season on a high note, already standing 1-0 for the season. 

 

IWU brought home the 2020 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Championship title and an 8-1 season and plan to continue the successful streak.

 

Seniors Matthew Leritz, Cory Noe and Peter Lambesis led the Titans on the court this week, rightfully earning their senior captain titles. Noe and Leritz tallied a matching 23 points apiece, followed by Lambesis’s 15 points. Leritz also managed a double-double for himself, adding a game-high 16 rebounds to his stats. 

 

Juniors Cody Mitchell and Luke Yoder paced close behind their senior captains. Mitchell set a new career high for himself with ten rebounds and five points. Yoder matched Lambesis with five assists while Lambesis pulled ahead with three steals. 

 

As a team, the Titans managed nine three-pointers, 28-of-66 successful shots from the field and 16-of-24 from the freethrow line. The Titans also added 16 assists on 28 makes.

 

The Foresters remained right behind the Titans for much of the first half, despite a quick 9-0 IWU lead. 

 

With twelve minutes left in the first half, sophomore Ryan Sroska attempted to help the Titans pull away with an additional seven points. But, the Foresters came up behind again with a six-point streak. 

 

With the score 18-16 Titans, head coach Ron Rose was forced into a timeout. The break from the court was exactly what IWU needed to get their heads back in the game. Lambesis brought the score to 26-19 with a pair of steals and a layup with five minutes left. 

 

By the time the buzzer rang for halftime, the Titans were only up by three.

 

Noe kicked off the second half with a three-ball before he and Lambesis followed it up with a triple and a pair of free throws, respectively. Lambesis topped off the ten-point streak with a layup assisted by Yoder.

 

The Titans and the Foresters inched closer to one another, Lake Forest narrowly missing the lead before the Titans were able to pull away again, for the remainder of the game. 

 

Noe took the final points of the game with a basket off a no-look pass by Yoder, putting the Titans at 81-61 and ending the game. The Illinois Wesleyan men’s basketball team is just getting started for the season. 

 

They will take on Hope College on Friday, November 12 at 7:00 P.M. in the first leg of the two-day Jack Sikma Hall of Fame Invitational. Also competing in the Invitational will be St. John’s University and UW-Oshkosh.