Necks handle Mastodons in OT


Pedro Avila/ Photo Editor

Kobe Webster hits a defender with a crossover on the three point line.

Becca Langys, Courier Staff

MACOMB IL. – The Western Illinois men’s basketball team took on Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne on Wednesday in Western Hall. The Leathernecks successfully added another win to their record in a high-intensity game that went
into overtime.

Due to multiple successful shots by IUPU, Western quickly fell seven points behind the Mastodons. Western quickly picked up the pace and eventually clawed their way back, in large part due to a few successful shots from junior center Brandon Gilbeck, eventually surpassing the Mastodons due to a clutch 3-point shot made by senior guard/forward
Dalan Ancrum.

The Leathernecks did not maintain their lead for long, eventually fallling behind once again due to a successful IUPU 3-point shot that put the score at 16-15. The Mastodons ran with the lead, and scored an additional ten points before Western had a chance to put any more points on the board. The Leathernecks found themselves down double-digit points after the offensive drought.

As the first half continued, the Leathernecks attempted to claw their way back into the lead, but were never able to successfully overcome the Mastodons. The half finished with a score of 26-36, IUPU in the lead.

As the second half of this matchup rolled around, both teams were ready to come out and fight for the win. The Leathernecks put points on the board first, thanks to a successful shot made by Ancrum. The shot shot did little in sparking a Leatherneck comeback. Throughout the majority of the second half, both the Mastodons and the Leathernecks were successful in their shots. The Leathernecks remained around ten points behind the Mastodons for a sizeable portion of the second half.

With thirteen minutes left in the half, freshman point-guard Kobe Webster made a successful 3-point shot that sparked a Leatherneck rally. The Leathernecks slowly began to inch their way back into winning position with efficient offense and suffocating defense. Soon after Webster’s shot, sophomore guard C.J. Duff made a 3-point shot that put the Leathernecks within four points of the Mastadons. As the clock began to run down, Western slowly fell behind again. When the score read 58-66, a good free throw by Webster sparked another Leatherneck rally. Western closed the gap within the last three minutes of the game, and tied up the score, making it 68-68 at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.

With five minutes set on the clock, the Leathernecks had one more opportunity to earn their first conference win of the season. Ancrum was the first player to score in the half, but the Mastodons quickly picked up the pace and surpassed the Leathernecks, putting the  score at 74-72.

As each possesion became increasingly important, the Purple and Gold answered the call. After being fouled, Gilbeck made a successful free throw that put the Leathernecks within one point of IUPU.

As the clock wound down, the Leathernecks and the Mastodons battled it out for the win. With one second left in the game, Webster made a successful shot that put the Leathernecks in the lead. As the final buzzer sounded, the score was 75-74 that gave Western the hardfought victory.

The Leathernecks finally had their first conference win, which is what they had ultimately been striving for. Webster raked up a total of 24 points for the Leathernecks, making him the leading scorer for Western. Closely following Webster, Ancrum earned a total of 23 points. Gilbeck led the team defensively, earning a total of 3 blocks throughout the course of the game.

Western will play against the South Dakota State Coyotes on Saturday.

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