BLOOMINGTON - With twins Cory and Chris Jones both questionable because of injuries, Illinois Wesleyan senior Steve Schweer may get his first start since his sophomore season today when Millikin visits Shirk Center for a 7:30 p.m. College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin basketball game.
Cory Jones, who has started the last 17 games, has been on antibiotics since Sunday and hopes to play despite an infected blister on the bottom of his left foot. Chris Jones has a sore knee and the extent of that injury will not be known until today.
Even if either or both are able to play, IWU coach Scott Trost hopes to limit their playing time to facilitate the healing process. That could mean a starting nod for Schweer, a 6-foot-6 senior who is averaging 2.8 points and 3.5 rebounds and shooting 77 percent (24 of 31) from the field.
Junior Andrew Freeman also is in line for more playing time in the post, and sophomore Darius Gant also could be called upon.
Ranked seventh nationally in Division III, Wesleyan is 17-3 overall and 7-3 in the CCIW following emotional victories over North Central and Elmhurst last week. In Millikin today and Wheaton Saturday, the Titans face two teams which took them to overtime earlier in the season.
"We've got to protect home floor and not have an emotional letdown from last Saturday," Trost said of the overtime win over Elmhurst. "There are no easy games in this league. Millikin is going to come in here with nothing to lose. We have to make sure we play with a lot of intensity and the same energy we played with Saturday."
The Big Blue (9-12, 2-8) have lost six straight but earned their CCIW victories over upper division teams Elmhurst and North Central. Millikin dropped a 68-60 decision to Wesleyan on Jan. 11 in Decatur.
"It's a big rivalry. They are a dangerous team," said Trost. "(Drew) Gensler is a very good player, (Reid) Jones shoots it well and they have (Korte) Long and (Lance) Brooks inside."
A freshman, Gensler tops Millikin at 17.9 points per game. Long adds 12.6 and Jones 8.7. Jones scored 18 points in the first IWU game. Long averages 9.6 rebounds.
"At that point, we were defending awfully well. We kept it a low-scoring game," Millikin coach Tim Littrell said of the earlier Wesleyan game. "That's the biggest challenge we have right now, and Wesleyan is playing a lot better and scoring a lot of points."
According to Littrell, the Big Blue have been hurt by the season-ending knee injury to emotional leader and defensive standout Mike Gavric.
The IWU and Millikin junior varsity teams meet in the 5:15 p.m. preliminary game.
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