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.