Dalan Ancrum shines as men’s hoops run past Jaguars


Dalan Ancrum scores a career-high of 20 points to help lift Western past IUPUI during Saturday’s game.

Campbell Atkins

MACOMB, Ill. — Dalan Ancrum scored a career-high 20 points as the Leathernecks bested the IUPUI Jaguars 78-69 Saturday at Western Hall. Western snapped a 4-game losing streak with the win and improved to 7-13 on the year (4-5 in Summit League play).

“We took care of the ball, we got stops when we needed to get stops and we made free throws down the stretch to close it,” said head coach Billy Wright. “We’re doing it without a point guard, which is hard because Dalan (Ancrum) is playing some at the one, C.J. (Duff) is playing some at the one and Garret (Covington) is playing some at the one. I’m just very proud of their commitment to the all-in philosophy and it was evident tonight.”

The majority of the game was back-and-forth. After the Leathernecks came surging out of the gates, IUPUI went on a 14-3 run to take the lead in the latter part of the first half. Western closed the gap and took a 30-29 lead into the locker room.

The second half was just as competitive, and the Jaguars held a 2-point lead with just five minutes remaining. Western found their spark and would take over in the waning minutes.

Covington, Duff and Ancrum were responsible for an 8-0 Leathernecks run to seal their fourth conference victory. Covington hit from 3-point range, Duff sunk a bucket and a free throw and Ancrum hit two from the charity stripe.

Western held on in the game’s final minutes to send the fans home happy. Coach Wright couldn’t say enough of his team’s resilience.

“We just wanted to focus on things we could control,” said Wright. “That’s been our motto from day one. Hats off to our guys, our back has been against the wall and we’ve faced so much adversity. I’m just so proud of our guys. They continue to fight, they continue to play together and I’m very proud of our effort today, and we’re fortunate to pull out this win.”

Ancrum wasn’t the only Leatherneck to post double figures. Covington was good for 16 points, 11 in the second half. Sophomore Brandon Gilbeck tied his career high with 15 points.

Senior Mike Miklusak recorded his sixth double-double of the season with all of his 13 points coming in the second half.

Western shot 52 percent from the field opposed to 41 percent for the Jaguars. Both teams shot well from the free throw line, over 70 percent. Junior guard Darell Combs of IUPUI led both sides in scoring with 21 points.

The Leathernecks will travel to South Dakota State on Wednesday looking to earn their second straight win in the Summit League. Western hosted the Jackrabbits (10-14, 3-6) in Macomb over winter break and beat them for the first time since the 2008-09 season. They will have to deliver the same balanced attack to beat them again.

The game is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.