March 7, 2009

Courtesy Wheaton

Wheaton, Ill. - The Wheaton College men's basketball team defeated Fontbonne University, 85-58, on Friday night in a NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament First Round game. Wheaton (26-3) will host UW-Platteville (22-5) on Saturday night a Second Round game of the tournament. The Pioneers defeated Hope College 83-59 in tonight's other First Round matchup in King Arena.

Wheaton led Fontbonne 15-0 four minutes into tonight's game and the Thunder held a 31-9 lead with 9:00 remaining in the first half. Wheaton led the Griffins 50-21 at halftime, en route to the victory.

Freshman forward Tim McCrary led the Thunder with a "double-double" as he scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. All-American Kent Raymond contributed 16 points with seven assists. Raymond made four three-pointers tonight to give him 239 in his career as he became Wheaton's career three-point leader, surpassing the 238 career treys by Nate Collord (1999-03). Senior center Andy Wiele tallied a "double-double" with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Ben Panner scored 10 points and junior David Eseke came of the Thunder bench to contribute 11 points,

Thunder head coach Bill Harris noted after the game, "We knew (Fontbonne) played with a lot of tough teams really close on the road. I think what happened is that early, we knocked down our shots." He added, "Our defense that first seven minutes was stifling and I thought that really discouraged them and took them out of what they wanted to do. We were quickly out by 20 and I think that discouraged them."

Raymond mentioned of the effort by the Thunder, "Playing a team game has been our calling card all year. Across the board, we have a lot of depth as a team. Quite honestly, I think that's our biggest advantage from last year's team that went to the Elite Eight, that we've got guys that can go 7, 8, or 9 deep and not lose anything...especially on the defensive end."

Brian Fogerty led Fontbonne with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Frank Scheetz came off of the Griffins' bench and contributed nine points and Nolan Zoellner scored eight points.

Wheaton shot 50% (33-66) from the field, 44% (8-18) from three-point range and 61% (11-18) at the free throw line. The Griffins shot 41% (20-49) from the floor, with a 38% (6-16) three-point field goal percentage and 54.5% (12-22) at the free throw line. Wheaton out-rebounded the guests 44-29, with a 13-5 edge on the offensive glass.