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updated: 3/1/2014 10:22 PM

Wheaton College claims CCIW title

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Special to the Daily Herald

The Wheaton Thunder men's basketball team defeated Illinois Wesleyan 87-66 on Saturday night in the CCIW Tournament championship game.

By winning the CCIW Tournament, Wheaton earns the CCIW's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The NCAA will announce pairings and selections at 11:30 a.m. Monday at ncaa.org.

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Tonight's win was the 100th victory at Wheaton for Thunder coach Mike Schauer. The tournament title is the second CCIW Tournament for Wheaton, with the program's other championship coming in 2009. Wheaton is 20-7 on the year and Illinois Wesleyan falls to 23-4 on the season.

Wheaton senior Tyler Peters shot 7 of 11 from the field and 13 of 14 from the free-throw line. The Thunder All-America led all scorers with 29 points and he also contributed game highs of 10 rebounds and 8 assists spectacular all-around effort.

Senior Nate Haynes scored 16 points, with 6 rebounds. Peter Smith registered 14 points and Tad Fisher scored 12 points off the Thunder bench.

The first half opened as a closely contested battle as the Thunder led 16-15 with 11:22 remaining before halftime. Wheaton put together a critical 16-5 scoring run that increased the guests' lead to 32-20 with 6:40 remaining in the first half. Wheaton utilized that run to own a 48-27 lead at halftime.

The Thunder shot a spectacular 69.2 percent from the field in the first half, with 66.7 percent behind the three-point arc and a perfect 6 for 6 at the free-throw line. Wheaton matched its offensive effort with a strong defense that held the Titans to just 9-of-23 shooting in the first half.

Tyler Peters led the Thunder with 14 points and 7 assists in the first half. Nate Haynes shot 4 of 5 from the field in the first 20 minutes to scored 10 points and Peter Smith added 9 points.

Wheaton maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half en route to the commanding victory.

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