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Garrick Hodge Assistant Sports Editor

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Since suffering a 71-70 double-overtime defeat to Oral Roberts last Thursday, the Western Illinois men’s basketball team has not looked the same.

The Leathernecks, who had won 3 in a row leading up to the Oral Roberts game to improve to 9-5, suffered another disappointing loss on Thursday, getting blown 72-50 by Summit League foe Missouri-Kansas City at the Swinney Recreation Center in Kansas City Mo.

Western has relied on its defense to help propel its offense, which has not been happening the past two games.

The Leathernecks (9-8, 4-5) only converted 19 of 53 shots (35.8 percent) against the Kangaroos, and never seemed to get into a rhythm offensively. UMKC (8-13, 2-7), meanwhile, connected on an impressive 25 of 41 field goal attempts (61 percent).

There was plenty at stake for Western heading into Thursday’s game. The Leathernecks needed a win to stay in the upper half of the Summit League standings. This certainly seemed attainable, as the Kangaroos had lost 8 straight games entering their match against the Leathernecks.

The Leathernecks quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a 3-point shot by senior guard Ceola Clark. The Leathernecks remained close early on, but with the score tied at 9-9, UMKC’S Kirk Korver put the Kangaroos ahead to stay with a free throw with 9:05 remaining in the first half.

From there, Kangaroos went on a 11-2 run. The Leathernecks responded, going on an 11-6 run to end the half, trailing only by 5 points at 29-24.

The Leathernecks only shot 33 percent from the floor in the first half, while the Kangaroos connected on 50 percent of their field goals. Jack Houpt led the Leathernecks in scoring with 6 first-half points.

Western struggled mightily in the second half, as Houpt turned the ball over on Western’s first possession, resulting in a layup by UMKC’S Trinity Hall (13 points 10 rebounds).

The Kangaroos’ Reggie Chamberlain (23 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds) knocked down a 3-point basket at the 16:21 mark in the second half to give his team a 36-28 lead.

Korver was also a pain in the Leathernecks’ side, as he contributed 18 points to the Kangaroos’ offensive attack and grabbed 4 rebounds.

For the Leathernecks, senior guard Tommie Tyler had a solid performance, and led the way offensively with 11 points. Junior center Terell Parks also contributed, scoring 9 points to go with 6 rebounds.

Clark, who had 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists, became Western’s all-time leader in steals during the game. With the 2 steals he came up with against the Kangaroos, Clark now has 169 at Western, eclipsing Bill Heisler’s previous school record of 167.

Western’s next game comes on the road Saturday night against South Dakota, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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