Men suffer tough senior night loss


File Photo

Issac Johnson looks off a defender as he dribbles up court.

Brendan Reidy, Courier Staff

MACOMB Ill. — The Western Illinois University men’s basketball team suffered a tough senior night loss to the Denver Pioneers on Saturday night by a score of 89-52. The loss locked the Leathernecks at the bottom of the conference, and they will be an eight-seed come the Summit League Tournament on March 3, in Sioux Falls.

The Purple and Gold got off to a slow start on Saturday. The Pioneers started the game with a big 9-0 run that got them the lead right out of the gate. Isaac Johnson got the Leathernecks on the board with sixteen minutes to play. Stagnant offense was the trend for Western during the first half.

The Leathernecks were struggling to get anything going against the defensive Pioneers. Denver held the Leathernecks to only 18 first half points and controlled the ball game handedly. The score going into the half was 44-18 in favor of the Pioneers. Western’s head coach, Billy Wright, commended the Pioneers on their level of ball movement that allowed them to take such a large lead.

“Give them credit, they spaced the floor well. They moved, they passed, and they shoot it really well and anytime you relax, they make you pay,” Wright said. “They are very patient with what they do.”

Leading the charge for Denver was Joe Rosga with 17, and Daniel Amigo with 15. The tandem were nearly unstoppable during the first half, as the two had a combined 14-25 from the field. For Western, their leader at the half were freshmen Kobe Webster and Isaac Johnson. Both players led the team with six points apiece.

The second half was the same for Western. However, more shots were beginning to fall for the Leathernecks. Throughout the second half, Webster was beginning to find his groove. The true freshman scored 11 points in the second half and highlighted the Purple and Gold’s offense. However, his stellar offensive play was not enough for the Leathernecks to hold off the Pioneers The Denver offense did not slow down during the second half.

Point guard Joe Rosga led the Pioneers with 10 points in the second half, and connected on two of his five- three point attempts. Rosga and Amigo were the leading scorers for Denver, combining for 47 of their 89 points. For the Purple and Gold, they were led by the duo of Webster and Johnson. The two combined 30 of Western’s 52 points.

It was not the outcome Leatherneck fans wanted on senior night, but seniors Dalan Ancrum, Lynrick Moxey and Chris Snyder were honored before the game started for their four years of service to the basketball program. All three players got substantial playing time during their last game inside Western Hall and made the most of their time out on the court.

The next time the Leathernecks matchup will be on March 3 against South Dakota State University of Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the first round of the Summit League Tournament. The Leathernecks are the underdogs in the tournament this year but look to surprise the Summit League in March.

Twitter: BrendanReidyII