Aston Francis scores 49 points as Wheaton tops North Park 77-65

More news about: Wheaton (Ill.)

Wheaton, Ill. – The Wheaton men's basketball team used a second half surge to top North Park (4-14, 2-7 CCIW) tonight in King Arena. Wheaton improves to 13-5 overall with a 6-3 CCIW record.

Thunder senior Aston Francis scored 49 points to set a new King Arena scoring record and post the third-highest single-game scoring performance in program history. Francis shot 18-of-33 from the field, making four three-pointers. The senior added nine free throws and grabbed 11 rebounds, including seven offensive boards.

Spencer Peterson contributed nine points with six rebounds and three assists for the Thunder. Nyameye Adom scored six points with three assists. Luke Peters grabbed six rebounds and Trevor Gunter added five boards.

North Park worked to take a 25-19 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game tonight. The Vikings led by eight points at 34-26 with 4:05 remaining in the first half. A three-pointer by Peterson sparked an 11-0 Thunder run to close out the half as Wheaton led 37-34 at halftime.

The Thunder led 48-47 with 12:05 left in regulation when a Francis three-pointer sparked a 17-5 Thunder run as Wheaton extended its lead to 65-52 with 7:00 left in the game. Francis contributed 11 of Wheaton's 17 points in the run. North Park's Toby Marek converted a traditional three-point play with 4:11 left in the game to culminate an 11-0 run for the Vikings as the guests' cut Wheaton's lead to 65-63.

Francis drained a three-pointer on the next possession to start a string of 12 unanswered points by the Thunder senior. Francis' 12-0 run extended Wheaton's lead to 77-63 with 40-seconds left in regulation. A North Park layup with 26-seconds left in the game accounted for the 77-65 final score.

Wheaton shot 45.5% (30-of-66) from the field, including 23.8% (5-for-21) from three-point range. The Vikings posted a 38.6% (22-of-57) field goal percentage, including 36% (9-of-25) behind the three-point arc. The Thunder shot 80% (12-of-15) at the free throw line and NPU had an 85.7% (12-of-14) effort at the charity stripe. Wheaton out-rebounded the Vikings 44-28, including 16-7 on the offensive glass.
Wheaton's strength in offensive rebounding allowed the hosts to out-score North Park 22-6 in second-chance points.

Matt Szuba led North Park with 14 points and six rebounds. Vegard Tangen scored 13 points with 12 points for Marek, 11 points for Kindrel Morris and 10 points for Izaiah Morris.

Wheaton hosts Illinois Wesleyan at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Note Worthy: Francis now has 1,894 career points and surpassed John Pfund's (1961-65) 1,890 career points for fifth place on the program's all-time scoring list…the senior now has seven career games of 40 or more points, the most in program history…in tonight's effort Francis became the first player in Wheaton history to surpass 300 career three-pointers as he now has 304 career treys…Francis' final basket of the night was the 600th field goal of his career.