Mike Miklusak posts career high in home loss to Omaha

Senior+forward+Mike+Miklusak+shot+9-of-13+on+Saturday+and+scored+a+career-high+26+points+in+the+loss

Jake Thompson

Senior forward Mike Miklusak shot 9-of-13 on Saturday and scored a career-high 26 points in the loss

Campbell Atkins

MACOMB, Ill. — The Western Illinois Men’s basketball team turned the ball over 16 times and dropped a home contest to Omaha 79-67 Saturday and fell to 7-15 for the year and 4-7 in the Summit League. The Mavericks used a 15-0 run in the second half to pull away and never look back.

“Turnovers were the story of this game,” head coach Billy Wright said after the loss. “Guys were playing out of position and that’s the reason for those turnovers.”

The Mavericks also committed a lot of turnovers (15), but Western only managed to score 11 points off their miscues. Omaha connected for 28 points off Western turnovers.

The brightest spot for the Leathernecks was Mike Miklusak. The senior shot 9 of 13 from the field, earning 26 of Western’s points in 34 minutes. He also snatched six rebounds along with two assists and steals.

Dalan Ancrum and Brandon Gilbeck were the only other Leathernecks to post double figures Saturday. Garret Covington scored 9 points.

After falling in an early hole, Western spent the majority of the game chipping away at an Omaha lead. They trailed by just 5 points at the break.

The Leathernecks came out hot in the second half and put together a 10-7 run to take their first lead of the night.

The game changed for good early in the second half when the Mavericks countered with a 15-0 run to spell doom for Western. They cut the lead to as little as seven with three minutes remaining but could never get back into the game.

As always, Coach Wright is focusing on what he can control from this point on.

“Day by day, we want to be consistent and we want to be better,” Wright said. “Each game has its own situation and you have to look at the big picture. Obviously, we like the fact that we have the majority of our remaining games at home, but it’s not who you play or where you play them, it’s how you play.”

Wright won’t know how his team plays to finish the year for another couple weeks, but we know who and when they play. Western has five games remaining in the regular season, three of which are at home. They will take on Oral Roberts, Denver, North Dakota State, South Dakota and Fort Wayne.

Omaha improved to 13-11 on the season and 6-5 in confernece. They stand alone at fourth place in the Summit and will take on the IUPUI Jaguars (10-14, 4-6) on Wednesday at home.

Their next game, however, will take play in Tulsa, Oklahoma as the Leathernecks travel to meet Oral Roberts (7-18, 3-8). Western beat Oral Roberts 86-71 at Western Hall on Jan. 7.

The game will tip off on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Oral Roberts is the only team in the Summit League looking up at the Leathernecks in the standings.

Twitter: @campbellatkins4