Men’s basketball pummels Purdue Fort Wayne

Michael Harms , Courier Staff

Macomb, IL — The Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons needed their umbrellas for their game against the Western Illinois Leathernecks as it was raining. The Necks just could not seem to miss from downtown securing a conference win against a top tier team with a score 87-53.

Western Illinois University welcomed the Mastodons who are leading The Summit League with a record of 12-8 and 4-1 in conference. Then the name C.J. Duff appeared; averaging just 9.4 points per game he was not on the top of the watch list for the Mastodons. Well If it was raining then Duff must have been Poseidon. He ended with 30 points setting a career high.

He went 8-9 from beyond the arc in an outing that left the crowd speechless. He hit off the dribble, in rotation, and most impressively in traffic. This type of shooting performance is rare. He was one three shy from setting the single game record for the Leathernecks. This was a game that the fans and team needed.

It has not been easy times for the Leathernecks as they have a 6-13 record before the game and were tied for last place in Summit League play after losing to conference foe Omaha just two days before the matchup. The team stayed uplifted positive and determined to win. Their dominant play uprooted the number one seed in The Summit League and will hopefully propel them for- ward into the win column.

Aside from Duff the team still had some offensive standouts. To start the game seven- foot center Brandon Gilbeck had to emphatic dunks. His inside play in the first half gave him eight points and six rebounds. Most importantly this opened the floor for the Leathernecks.

The Mastodons needed to double Gilbeck for his size and he found the open man. The Necks made the extra pass and hit outside shots to get the offense moving. His play in an integral part for this team and will need to be relied upon heavily to create constant success for the Purple and Gold.

Another reason the Leathernecks dominated this matchup was rebounding. Western Illinois won the rebounding battle 32-17 against the Mastodons. In large part to Western’s back court never giving up on the shot. The inside game and penetration allowed for more open lanes and shots that decided to fall.

On defense this matchup could have caused problems. Last time out Western’s defense gave up 50 percent of their total points. 40 of 80 to be exact, and yet this matchup was up against a Summit League player of the year can- didate John Konchar. Averaging 19.2 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game. His talents is what has led the Mastodons to their current overall record. He is a premier talent in the Summit League and looking to take over this game.

The matchup on Konchar was great by Western all game as well. First Isaac Johnson shouldered the defensive load, but quickly C.J. Duff took responsibility. His lateral quickness prohibited Konchar’s futile attempts to get to the basket, and even when he got close the giant of Gilbeck stood before him to swat anything away.

This is the type of effort and efficiency this team will look towards the second half of Summit League play. Next the take a one game road trip to Vermillion South Dakota to take on the Coyotes.