Holland, Mich. – The Wheaton College men's basketball team opened the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament on Friday with a 64-57 victory against Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (22-6). Wheaton advances to the second round of the tournament on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. (EST) tipoff against the winner of Friday's other first round game in Holland, Mich. between Hope College and Penn State-Behrend.
Wheaton heads into the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament with a 20-8 overall record. This year's 20-win season marks the third consecutive campaign the Thunder have achieved the 20-win milestone. This is only second time in school history that Wheaton has put together three straight 20-win seasons. The other occurance was in a string of four-consecutive 20-win seasons from the 1955-56 season until 1958-59.
Thunder senior Tyler Peters led the Thunder with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting . He also contributed four assists and two steals. Peters now has 1,510 career points as his effort tonight moved him into 12th place on Wheaton's all-time scoring list and he is now one of only 12 players in school history to surpass 1,500 career points.
The Thunder never trailed in the game. The Wheaton led 8-6 with 13:10 remaining in the first half and a 16-8 Wheaton scoring edge increased the Thunder lead to 24-14 with 4:33 lead in the first half. A basket by Peter Smith as time expired accounted for a 34-20 lead at halftime.
Wheaton out-scored Fightin' Engineers 8-2 in the first 4:30 of the second half to increase its lead to 42-22 with 15:25 remaining in game. Rose-Hulman responded to trim the Wheaton lead to eight points at 50-42 with 8:20 remaining in regulation. A Rose-Hulman three-pointer with 51-seconds remaining cut the Thunder lead to 62-55 with 43-.5-seconds; however, Wheaton continued a comfortable lead to close out the win.