MAITLAND, Fla. — No. 17 Illinois Wesleyan rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to get a 68-67 win against Hope at the RDV Sportsplex D3 Basketball Classic on Saturday.
With the win, the Titans improved to 8-2 this season while the Flying Dutchmen slipped to 4-6.
Hope led by 15 in the first half and didn’t let up, getting out to an 18-point lead at 48-30 with 17:21 left to play in the second half. Illinois Wesleyan battled back with a 26-7 run during the last 10 minutes to take a 56-55 lead with 7:44 to play on a basket by junior Andrew Ziemnik.
Hope whittled a 5-point deficit down to 1 point with 32 seconds left. The Flying Dutchmen had the ball and a chance to win, but a shot by Colton Overway with :07 remaining was blocked by IWU’s Eric Dortch and Hope did not get another chance.
Illinois Wesleyan outrebounded Hope 37-23 and the Titans committed 19 turnovers to only eight by Hope.
The Titans shot 48.8 percent from the field (21 of 43) and made 7-of-21 3-point attempts (33.3). IWU shot 73.1 percent from the free throw line. Hope finished at 36.8 percent from the field and made 7-of-17 3-pointers (41.2). The Dutchmen were 18 for 24 from the line.
“It was an improbable win,” IWU head coach Ron Rose said. “Early in the game [Hope] was the aggressor, but in the second half we competed a lot harder. A key to the game was Dortch playing defense against Overway, including the blocked shot late. Offensively, we spread the floor better and attacked the basket so much better.”