Basketball tries for three straight wins

Brendan Reidy , Courier Staff

MACOMB, Ill. — The Western Illinois University Men’s basketball team (4-4) will be traveling to Florida to take on the Stetson Hatters (1-8).

These two teams have started the season in two completely different ways.

The Leathernecks have played pretty well through their non-conference schedule, despite it being very difficult. The Hatters, on the other hand, have struggled immensely. They, too, have played a difficult schedule, but have been able to come out with the victories needed before conference play starts up. These two programs will face off tonight at 6 p.m.

The Leathernecks are riding a two-game winning streak going into their matchup after defeating Southern Illinois University-edwardsville and Southeastern Missouri University last week. Sophomores Kobe Webster and Isaac Johnson lead Western. Webster is leading the team in points with 17 per contest, and also leads the team in assists with 28 on the year. Johnson is right up there with Webster. He is currently second on the team with 15 per game. The two have been steady all year, and the team relies on their scoring prowess to come away victorious. However, when one fails to produce their averages, they have freshman Ben Pyle to come pick up the slack, also known as the former Mr. Basketball of Kansas. Pyle is coming off one of his best games of his young and promising Leatherneck career. He notched his first career double-double, and helped lead Western Illinois to their first road win since Feb. 8, 2017. These three players will be the key for the Leathernecks if they want to extend their winning streak against Stetson.

For the Hatters, their season did not start the way they would have hoped. They played against and lost to National Powerhouse, and arguable the nation’s best player in Zion Williamson, and have not seemed to recover. Well it doesn’t get easier for the Hatters because Leathernecks have a Williamson of their own. All jokes aside, they will have a tall task in front of them. If they want to defeat the red-hot Leathernecks, they will have to lean on their leading scorer Abayomi Iyiola. He has been the leader for his team, and when he struggles the team does not have another viable option to pick up the slack.

The Leathernecks should be able to come away with a victory, and extend their win streak to three. Western has struggled on the road the past two seasons, but this is the dawn of a new era. Webster and company want to create something special in Macomb, and it all starts by winning these non-conference games. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. on ESPN+