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Men’s hoops beats down Cardinals

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Men’s hoops beats down Cardinals

Kobe Webster races down the court on a fast-break to help Western get a victory.

Kobe Webster races down the court on a fast-break to help Western get a victory.

Pedro Avila / assisstant photo editor

Kobe Webster races down the court on a fast-break to help Western get a victory.

Pedro Avila / assisstant photo editor

Pedro Avila / assisstant photo editor

Kobe Webster races down the court on a fast-break to help Western get a victory.

Devon Greene, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Western Illinois University Leatherneck men’s basketball team opened the season in dominant fashion with a 109-68 victory over the St. Mary’s University of Minnesota Cardinals.

Sophomore guard C.J. Duff scored the first basket of the Leathernecks’ season to start the big scoring night for the Leathernecks. Western opened the game on a 7-2 run before the game tightened up about half way through the first half.

Junior center Brandon Gilbeck and senior forward Dalan Ancrum looked to get involved in the offense early on in the game and contributed for 27 of the Leathernecks 47 points in the first half.

However, the Cardinals stuck around and fought Western hard in the first half in large part due to freshman forward Kareem Anthony-Bello who converted on four of his first six field goal attempts, all of which being 3 pointers. Anthony-Bello recorded 14 points in the first half and kept the game close at 47-43 going into the break.

The second half was where the Leathernecks began to turn it on. They became much more efficient in their offensive output shooting an astronomical 85 percent from the field. The Purple and Gold opened the half on a 15-0 scoring run that put the Leathernecks up 62-46. Brandon Gilbeck took over the game in the second half, dominating the offensive and defensive glass and scoring 13 points in the second half.

Head coach Billy Wright was excited for his team for picking up the early win but sees plenty of improvement that his squad can make for when they get into some tougher matchups.

“It was a good win for us. I think that the way our guys responded in the second half is something we can learn from and is very encouraging moving forward,” Wright said. “We give them credit, they came in here and made some shots early. It was a good test. Obviously, it will get tougher moving forward and I think our guys are up to the challenge.”

Gilbeck and Ancrum both put together career nights with Gilbeck scoring 31 points and Ancrum scoring 21. Freshman guard Kobe Webster left a strong impression on Leatherneck fans in his debut game, knocking down three of his five three point attempts on his way to scoring 19 points, dishing out 8 assists and recording 4 steals.

The Leatherneck offense showed some promising signs and scored over 100 points for the first time since 2005.

Twitter: @devondeadlysi

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Men’s hoops beats down Cardinals