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Illinois Wesleyan junior Colin Bonnett is feeling better after early season stomach pain and has helped the Titans share the CCIW regular-season title and earn an at-large NCAA Division III Tournament berth.

BLOOMINGTON — It wasn’t readily apparent when he was scoring 22 points in a Nov. 26 win against Rhodes.

And it was hardly obvious when he handed out a season-high six assists on Dec. 2 in a loss to Carthage.

But Colin Bonnett was hurting.

“I was having some stomach issues,” said the Illinois Wesleyan junior guard. “I was kind of in and out of Prompt Care. They never really quite figured it out.”

Bonnett and his teammates have earned IWU’s first NCAA Division III Tournament trip since 2015.

The 25th-ranked Titans meet No. 23 College of Wooster on Friday at 4:30 p.m. (Central) in a first-round game at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.

The 6-foot-4 Bonnett began having pain during preseason training.

“I was throwing up almost every time I worked out. It persisted probably through winter break,” he said. “It’s something that was pretty frustrating that I’ve kept to myself this whole time.”

The affliction affected Bonnett on the court as well.

“If I played long stretches my stomach would start hurting. I used to have to call for a sub after five or six minutes of playing,” said Bonnett. “Doctors kept telling me a lot of the process is ruling out things because there’s no way of telling exactly what it is with the stomach.

"I’ve been working with the (IWU) training staff, and we’ve found some things we think are helping in terms of combatting the overall effects.”

Bonnett has experienced an increase in stamina recently and has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games.

“It still bothers me once in awhile. But in terms of when I actually play basketball, it’s kind of been gone,” Bonnett said. “It was noticeable for me when I was playing over 30 minutes a game and was comfortable doing so.”

IWU coach Ron Rose watched Bonnett battle through the discomfort and has been pleased to see the Lisle Benet product's symptoms lessen.

“It’s just the last month he got himself into really good shape where he’s able to play harder for a longer period of time,” said Rose. “It’s very similar to last year. As the season’s gone on, he’s gotten better and better.”

In his second season as a starter, Bonnett leads the Titans in 3-point shooting percentage at .440 and is second in scoring (12.4), minutes played (27.0), free throw percentage (.787), steals and assists.

“You look at Colin’s stat line, and it’s different a lot of games. It’s all based on he just wants to win whether it’s scoring, rebounding or defending,” Rose said. “The best teams have those kind of guys.”

Bonnett came from the highly successful Benet program. He was named top player at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament in 2014, joining a club that features Derrick Rose, Jabari Parker and Cliff Alexander.

“Benet is pretty well established for competing against and beating top tier teams,” Bonnett said. “Coming from that culture to an Illinois Wesleyan where you’re competing at a high level year in and year out, it definitely prepared me well to come to a program like this.”

Bonnett also plays with an elevated level of intensity.

“I don’t think a lot of people mess with Colin,” Rose said with a chuckle. “He’s a fiery competitor, and he brings that element to the team. As Colin has reeled that in and really focused that fire, that’s when he is clearly at his best.”

Follow Randy Reinhardt on Twitter: @Pg_Reinhardt



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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