Wheaton, Ill. - The Thunder men's basketball team returned to CCIW play on Wednesday night with a convincing 77-57 victory over Carthage. The win snaps a two-game skid for the Thunder and moves their record to 9-4 overall and 2-2 in the CCIW. Carthage falls to 6-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play. Wheaton will return to action on Saturday night, when the Thunder host Carroll University for a 7 pm tip at King Arena.
Wheaton looked as if they may turn the game into a rout in the early going as Wheaton used a 10-0 run to force Carthage into an early timeout, trailing 10-3 less than three minutes into the game. The Red Men answered with eight straight points to tie the game at 10 less than two minutes later. Spencer Peterson's jumper on the ensuing possession gave Wheaton a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Leading by four with 12 minutes left in the half, Wheaton embarked on a 16-4 run over the next four minutes that saw Wheaton push the lead to 35-19 on an Aston Francis three-pointer with 7:36 to play in the half. Carthage was able to close to within 13 late in the half but Francis closed the half with six straight points to give Wheaton a 49-30 halftime advantage.
Wheaton finished the first half shooting a white-hot 51.4% (18-35) from the field including 55.6% (10-18) on three-point attempts. Wheaton also managed to hold Carthage to just 28.6% (10-35) from the field and 33.3% (5-15) from beyond the arc while outrebounding the Red Men 27-17. Wheaton struggled from the field in the second half, shooting just 26.5%, but held the Red Men to 28.1% to prevent the guests from closing the gap. Wheaton would finish the night at 39.1% (27-69) from the field and 45.2% (14-31) from the three-point line while holding Carthage to 28.4% (19-67) from the floor and 30.8% (8-26) from deep. The Red Men made 11-of-16 free throw attempts while Wheaton was 9-for-11 at the charity stripe and the Thunder finished with a 51-43 advantage on the glass.
Carthage would get no closer than 17 points in the second half, getting to within 54-37 just two minutes after halftime, but three-pointers by Anajuwon Spencer and Spencer Peterson pushed the lead to 23. The lead dipped under 20 points twice over the following minutes but threes by Nyameye Adom and Luke Anthony quickly moved the hosts back over the 20-point threshold en route to the 20-point victory.
Aston Francis scored 20 points before halftime on his way to a 31-point, 10-rebound double-double while also dishing out seven assists. Luke Peters narrowly missed a double-double by scoring nine points and grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds while adding five assists. Anajuwon Spencer finished with 11 points and four rebounds and Spencer Peterson added nine points and six rebounds.