CHICAGO — The Illinois Wesleyan basketball team trailed by just one at the 8:29 juncture of the first half, but Division I Illinois-Chicago eventually asserted its dominance by taking an 81-60 exhibition win at the UIC Pavilion on Thursday.
The Division III Titans are back at it Friday with another exhibition against the University of Illinois. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at State Farm Center in Champaign.
"I was really pleased with our effort," IWU coach Ron Rose said. "I thought we competed at a high level."
Brady Rose nailed a 3-pointer to open the scoring, but the Flames reeled off the next 11 points.
Wesleyan clawed back to a 23-22 deficit on two Rose free throws.
The only IWU points over the final seven minutes came on a jumper from freshman Matthew Leritz as UIC carried a 35-25 margin into the break.
"If we don't turn the ball over for layups a few times, it's probably an even game at the half," Coach Rose said. "For practicing two weeks to play against a team that pressures like that, you really have to execute, and we're not quite there yet."
Sophomore Doug Wallen led the Titans with 16 points off the bench. Rose added 13. Alex O'Neill grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
"Doug showed his natural ability to get into the paint and finish around the basket," Ron Rose said. "He did a lot of nice things."
Jordan Blount paced the Flames with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Tarkus Ferguson chipped in 15 points.
IWU shot just 34 percent from the field (22 of 65) and 22 percent from 3-point range (5 of 23).
"For this to go down to the wire, he would have to shoot the ball a lot better," said Ron Rose. "They really get after you and it results in some missed shots. And we missed some really good looks."