Another tough one for the Thunder last night. Bottom line is Moten and Henry hit the key shots when they needed to and Wheaton just didn't despite uncontested wide open looks for Pete Smith. Wheaton should have gotten a chance to tie or win in OT as NCC had a close shot clock violation, but didn't get the call. Definitely not the reason for the loss- numerous chances to win including in regulation.
I never thought I'd see a Wheaton team play that much zone defense which they did for probably 25 out of 45 minutes. I'm guessing this was an effort to keep guys out of foul trouble and stay a little fresher rather than anything to counter NCC. The play of Berg and Joel Smith continues to be very encouraging and FR Murad Dillard gave some solid minutes. At 0-3, conference tourney doesn't look good but this team might be capable of stealing a road win.
With 22 points including 6 three pointers, Jayme Moten played a tremendous game throughout the course of the entire contest, and Erwin Henry hit the majority of his 12 points, particularly his 2 threes, at a couple of the most important junctures of the game. However, with all due respect, the bottom line in last night's contest was the fact that Wheaton had no answer for Charlie Rosenberg who set new career highs in both points, with 27, and rebounds, with 14. To cap his dominating performance, Charlie chipped in 4 steals. Should the Cardinals win conference, Rosenberg will almost certainly be the CCIW POY, and such will still be a strong possibility if NCC finishes as the runner-up.
Last night was the second consecutive game in which Charlie has established a career high high in points. Jack Burchett and Joe Kennnell scored 10 and 4 points respectively, with Burchett also having a game high 6 assists, and Kennell 5.
NCC held a 10 point lead with about eight minutes left in the first half, and let Wheaton whittle it to only 4 at intermission. Wheaton then was up by 7 with only 4:1remaining in regulation, but let the Cardinals come back to knot things up with slightly over a minute left, and to out score the hosts 11-6 in the OT period.
For Wheaton, Joel Smith is much more aggressive (19 shots!) than in years past, and Michael Berg has entered the next life as someone who no longer seems afraid to battle inside for both points and rebounds. Berg, who fouled out, has even added a degree of chippyness to his game with frequent moving screens, and a seeming penchant for extending his foot into the path of an opposing player.