By Blake Haas
BLOOMINGTON – Just days after winning a share of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin the No. 15 Illinois Wesleyan Titans (19-6, 12-4) fell to unranked North Central (18-7, 11-5) on Tuesday at Shirk Center.
The Titans started cold as NCC jumped out to an early 10-0 lead with 17:23 left in the first half. IWU got on the board with a pair of free throws from sophmore big man Alex O’Neil to help the Titans claw back to within seven with 5:09 left in the first half. Senior guard Brady Rose scored the last points of the first half with a pair of free throws to bring it to a 40-34 at the half lead for the Cardinals.
IWU’s first half struggles continued into the second half, as the Cardinals came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. NCC busted open the second half leading by as much as 12, but the Titans clawed their way back within striking distance to bring the score within six with under a minute to play, but ultimately falling 83-74.
The No. 15 Titans had four players in double-digit scoring led by senior Brady Rose with 17 points and two assists. Sophmore guard Miles Curry chipped in 15 points and two assists in the loss.
IWU who claimed a share of the CCIW Championship will begin CCIW tournament play as a No. 2 seed on Friday against North Central in Rock Island, Ill.
Augustana (20-5, 12-4) will have the No. 1 seed in the CCIW tournament.
Blake Haas can be reached at Blake.Haas@cumulus.com.