Clark, Leathernecks give No.17 Michigan big scare

Garrick Hodge assistant sports editor

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In a David vs. Goliath-type match-up, the Western Illinois men’s basketball team gave the No. 17-ranked Michigan Wolverines all they could handle Thursday evening. After leading by as many as 4 points, the Leathernecks fell 59-55 at Chrysler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Former Summit League Defensive Player of the Year Ceola Clark made his season debut for the Leathernecks, and his impact was immediately felt. Clark converted 6 of 12 field goals, tallying 21 points and adding 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

The Leathernecks (0-2) were looking to rebound after their 87-58 defeat at the hands of Dayton, while Michigan (3-0), coming off a 20-13 season, figured to have an easy time maintaining its perfect 2011 record.

Western got off to a fast start. Junior forward Terell Parks (5-of-7 shooting, 5 rebounds) made a layup off an offensive rebound to give the Leathernecks an early 8-4 lead with 16:09 remaining in the first half.

The Wolverines pulled out to a 18-10 lead, but the Leathernecks went on a 9-1 run, highlighted by Clark’s 3-point shot, to tie it up at 19-19 with 6:33 remaining in the first half. At the half, the game was tied at 28 apiece.

In the second half, Michigan started to pull away, but the Leathernecks refused to give up, never trailing by more than 9 points in the game.

Western had a chance to cut the deficit to 3 with 1:21 remaining. However, Clark’s 3-point attempt missed, and the Wolverines controlled the rest of the game.

Fouls hurt the Leathernecks, as they committed 22 personal fouls as opposed to Michigan’s 16.

Western shot 48.8 percent to the Wolverine’s 45.2 percent, and converted 43.8 percent of its 3-point shots to Michigan’s 35 percent.

The Leathernecks next play Greenville College Tuesday at p.m. at Western Hall.

 

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