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Losses don't normally come in bunches for the Illinois Wesleyan basketball team.

Preventing a third straight defeat is the mission Wednesday in a 7 p.m. College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin game against Wheaton at King Arena in Wheaton.

The Titans capped their California trip with a 67-61 defeat to Cal Lutheran on Dec. 30 and opened the CCIW campaign with a 78-72 loss at North Central.

IWU (8-4, 0-1) hadn't dropped two straight games in nearly two years and has not suffered three consecutive defeats since the final three games of the 2008-09 season.

"We haven't lost two in a row very often," junior guard Bryce Dolan said. "We have played two good, physical teams that executed their game plans well. But we weren't ourselves. We didn't play our game. We were not as physical and tough as we usually are."

IWU coach Ron Rose believes a lack of earlier close contests cost the Titans the past two outings.

"We got off to big starts and rolled in a number of games," said Rose. "Cal Lutheran was a close game, and we didn't know how to respond very well to that. I thought we did a lot better at North Central. That came down to not making enough plays."

The Titans, who are 1-4 in road games, shot just 42.4 percent the past two games and are at 47 percent for the season.

"We haven't been shooting the ball well," Dolan said. "But shots will go down. Offense will come."

Wheaton (7-5, 0-1) is led by dynamic 6-foot-3 senior Brayden Teuscher, who averages 20.6 points and is a 91 percent free throw shooter.

"He's a handful to guard," said Rose. "He's already been to the line over 100 times (actually 98). He is an aggressive scorer."

IWU senior Pat Sodemann and others will defend Teuscher.

"The worry about having one guy guard him is getting that guy in foul trouble," Rose said. "I don't think it can be just Pat. We'll probably march a few other people at him, too."

Other key Thunder players are 6-6 junior Michael Berg (12.6 points, 6.7 rebounds), 6-6 senior Peter Smith (9.6 points) and 6-0 senior Caleb DeMoss (8.4).

"This is a big game for both of us to try to get in that win column in conference," said Rose. "Hopefully our depth can play a factor."

The Titans have 11 players averaging at least 12.8 minutes. Wheaton uses an eight- and sometimes nine-man rotation.

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Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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