BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—The Fontbonne University men's basketball team had high hopes of opening its 2017-18 season with a win over Illinois Wesleyan, however, the Titans protected its home floor with a 90-68 win.
Fontbonne (0-1), shot 41.4 percent from the floor, including shooting 48.4 percent in the second half. The Griffins had its struggles though, going 16-of-23 from the charity-stripe and were out-rebounded 49-36 on the glass.
Individually, Thomas Ritter had himself a night with a career and game-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Kris McCann caught fire in the second half to finish with 11 points and five assists, while James Wiggins went a perfect 4-of-4 from the field to collect 10 points.
The Titans (1-0), meanwhile, shot 40.8 percent from the floor and drained 10 3-pointers. The team also played well defensively, forcing 20 FBU turnovers.
Colin Bonnett paced IWU with his team-high 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Alex O'Neill rounded out with 12, while Miles Curry and Zach Knobloch contributed 10 points each off the bench.
In the first half, the Titans jumped out early to an 11-2 lead on Miles Curry's made jumper just four minutes in. Later in the half, at the 7:43 mark, the Griffins tried to stay within striking distance as a made layup from Wiggins narrowed it to 21-11.
However, Illinois Wesleyan went on a 13-5 run over the next two minutes and change to expand its lead out to 34-16 on O'Neill's two made free throws.
Prior to the first half horn sounding though, Ritter drained a 3-pointer with 30.0 seconds left to cut the deficit down to 46-30 at the break. Ritter led all scorers in the first half with a game-high 10 points.
In the second, the momentum started to swing Fontbonne's way as Ritter continued his strong play with a layup at 18:27 to put Fontbonne down 48-35. After a McCann made basket 21.0 seconds later, Ritter sank another 3-pointer making it 50-40, and that forced the Titans to take a timeout.
IWU responded in a big way out of the break, going on a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to take a 62-42 lead. Despite its efforts and shooting nearly 49.0 percent in the second half, the Griffins were unable to erase the deficit, falling by 22.
The Griffins return to the court next Tuesday night when they'll pay a visit to Oakland City. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Fans make sure to stay updated on fontbonnegriffins.com throughout the year for full updates and recaps on the men's basketball team.