BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Yes, the Illinois Wesleyan Titans felt like tourists in New York last week.
“We went to Times Square, the Rockefeller Tree, 9/11 Memorial, and Ellis Island,” said senior guard Cory Noe.
But the players also felt like stars after beating then-Number 1 ranked Yeshiva, 73-59, in a highly-anticipated showdown of Division III powers. The convincing win was earned in a packed gym.
“There was a lot of hype of Twitter, a lot of talking,” said IWU junior guard Luke Yoder. “While we were practicing, people were looking though the doors, watching us. You felt like you were in the NBA.”
After the game, the Titans spent a lot of time receiving congratulations on the floor.
“Walking to the game, two hours beforehand and there’s a line of 400 fans waiting to get in,” Noe said of the crowd. “It was cool to get that kind of attention.”
Senior Matthew Leritz grabbed a school record 25 rebounds in the win.
“It was probably the first time in my life I actually felt like a celebrity,” Leritz said. “As a Division III basketball player, you don’t always get that treatment.”
“Going to New York, beating the No. 1 ranked team on its floor and ending that school’s 50-game win streak is certainly a wonderful memory. Yet these titans say they have bigger goals ahead this season.
“At Wesleyan, it’s Final 4 or bust. My main goal is to hang a banner up in those rafters,” Leritz said. “If we don’t do that I will be disappointed.”
The Titans host Elmhurst on Monday night.