BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - The Illinois Wesleyan men's basketball team held off a determined Carthage Red Men squad to earn a 76-71 win at the Shirk Center in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin tournament semifinal on Friday, Feb. 28.
No. 4-nationally ranked IWU improved to 23-3 overall and will face Wheaton (18-8) for the tournament title and the automatic NCAA tournament berth at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Shirk Center.
In a game that saw 13 ties and nine lead changes, Illinois Wesleyan fell behind by as many as seven points at 31-24 with 5:34 to play in the first half. A 7-0 Titan run tied the game at 31-31 with 3:30 to go in the first and IWU had a 36-34 lead at the break.
The game was tied at 50-50 with 11:00 left in the game when IWU had a 13-4 run to grab a 63-54 lead with 7:09 remaining and held on the rest of the way, leading by as many as 11 on two occasions, the latest at 70-59 with 4:06 left. Carthage clawed back to within three points at 74-71 with 23 seconds left and had the ball, but an errant 3-point shot gave the ball back to IWU.
IWU held a commanding 35-26 lead in rebounds and IWU had 12 turnovers to 11 for Carthage.
IWU will play Wheaton in the CCIW Championship game on Saturday night.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.