MACOMB Ill. – The Western Illinois University men’s basketball team went on a three-game road trip over Thanksgiving break and were unable to find a win in their travels.
They took on the Eastern Illinois University Panthers back on Nov. 17 and narrowly fell 68-66. Sophomore guard Kobe Webster with his 18 points, five rebounds and three assists led Western. He wasn’t alone though, as junior guard C.J. Duff tallied 16 points, followed by sophomore guard Isaac Johnson with 13 points.
These three may have been the blunt of the offense, but they also combined to 12 turnovers. Western had 16 overall, which gave EIU the upper hand.
Either way, this was a very close game, all the way down to the wire. After the end of the second half the game was tied at 60. Western made two three pointers, but it wasn’t enough as Eastern ended the game with a couple layups and made free throws to get the overtime win.
The Leathernecks continued their trip when they traveled to the University of Tennessee at Martin last Wednesday. It was another close game, this time a little more high scoring. The final score was 92-90 in favor of UT.
Webster once again led the team, this time having 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Duff helped him this time and the two were the teams leading scorers. Duff finished with 12 points.
Not starting, but also making a huge impact was junior guard Jeremiah Usiosefe. He tallied 19 points and six rebounds but was taken out because of his four personal fouls. Brandon Gilbeck and Zion Young each had 10 points on the night, as Western shot at 55 percent from the field.
Western’s final game, which brings us up to date, was against the University of Nebraska. It isn’t often that Western plays against the BIG 10, but when they do, it typically doesn’t go well.
If anything, this game was a wake up call for the team. The Cornhuskers won by 24 points last Saturday, with the final score being 73-49. There wasn’t a lot of scoring for Western, but trying to lead the way was Duff one final time.
He had 13 points, followed by Johnson with nine and Gilbeck with eight. The problem wasn’t really Nebraska’s defense, it was Western’s shooting. They went 30 percent from the field and behind the arc, with only nine points coming off the bench.
These three games brought Western’s record down to 2-4, and they have yet to win on the road. They’ll have a chance to get out of this slump this Wednesday when they take on the Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville Cougars. The game will be at 7 p.m. inside Western Hall.