DECATUR — Sophomore Doug Wallen scored 15 points in his first career start and senior Brady Rose took over 13th on the Illinois Wesleyan career scoring list Saturday as the Titans handled Millikin, 87-71, at Griswold Center.
Wesleyan (10-6, 3-4 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) reached double figures in wins for the 58th consecutive season.
"It's good to be in a happy locker room again," said IWU coach Ron Rose, whose team had lost six of its past eight, all by seven or less points. "I thought we came out really focused and played very hard. The guys really responded to the challenge we gave them to defend better, and I thought we did."
Wallen and senior Danny Baker made their first starts as former starters Alex O'Neill and Charlie Bair came off the bench.
"Doug's confidence is growing. I thought Doug and Danny both responded well to their first starts," Coach Rose said. "And I was equally pleased how Charlie and Alex responded and how they played."
IWU bolstered a 14-point halftime advantage with a 10-2 run to open the second half as Wallen scored six of the points. Wesleyan enjoyed a comfortable 66-39 bulge after an O'Neill layup.
Millikin charged back with a 21-8 streak to pull within 74-60 with 7:20 to play. But IWU dashed the Big Blue comeback hopes with another Wallen bucket and four Peter Lambesis points.
Brady Rose, who entered the game tied with Steve Kuehl for 13th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,430 points, paced the visitors with 23 points.
Colin Bonnett added 13 points and the freshman Lambesis had nine.
IWU outrebounded the Big Blue by a 36-28 margin as Wallen, Bair and Jason Gregoire snared six boards each. Brady Rose and Grant Wolfe handed out five assists apiece.
"One of the keys was the rebounding battle," said Ron Rose. "The guys really focused in on battling on the boards."
Jack Marinko topped Millikin (8-7, 2-5) with 19 points. Elijah Henry scored 17 and Zach Fisher 15.
The Titans emerged from a 19-19 tie midway through the first half with a 25-6 surge that featured three Brady Rose 3-pointers in a span of 2:41.
A Lambesis three-point play extended the IWU lead to 16. Bonnett's 3-pointer gave the Titans a 44-25 cushion that stood at 44-30 entering halftime.
Rose and Bonnett each scored 13 points in the opening half.