WHEATON — Millikin needed wins in its final two games to have a chance for the sixth and final spot in the CCIW Tournament.
But overcoming NCAA Division III's leading scorer was too tall an order. Wheaton's Ashton Francis had 31 points, including eight points in the final minute of the game, to beat Millikin 81-73.
With the loss, Millikin (10-13, 4-11 CCIW) was officially eliminated from the six-team CCIW Tournament.
Millikin led Wheaton (18-7, 11-5 CCIW) 43-33 at halftime. But Wheaton rallied and took control of the game early in the second period and built a 10-point lead, 61-51, with 12:35 left to play. Millikin made a run in the final minutes and freshman Jack Marinko's 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining pulled the Big Blue to 73-71.
That's when Francis took over.
Marinko and DaVante Harrell each scored 18 points to lead Millikin. The Big Blue will finish the season at 7 p.m. Saturday at home against North Park.
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Bus trouble postpones women's game
DECATUR — The Millikin women's basketball game was postponed until Thursday after Wheaton's bus broke down on the way to Decatur.
In a release, Bryan Marshall, Millikin's assistant athletic director for sports information, said: "Wheaton's bus broke down and they are stuck along the interstate and they are still two hours away so tonight’s game is postponed."
The teams will play at 7 p.m. Thursday at Millikin's Griswold Center.
The Big Blue (8-15, 4-10 CCIW) is a half-game out of the final spot in the six-team CCIW Tournament. Wheaton (20-4, 14-1) is the CCIW champion and top seed in the tournament.