Western Courier

Leathernecks suffer back to back loses

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Leathernecks suffer back to back loses

Kobe Webster dribbles down the court on a fast break.

Kobe Webster dribbles down the court on a fast break.

GOLEATHERNECKS.COM

Kobe Webster dribbles down the court on a fast break.

GOLEATHERNECKS.COM

GOLEATHERNECKS.COM

Kobe Webster dribbles down the court on a fast break.

Kejuan Rucker, Courier Staff

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It has been a tough weekend for Western Illinois men’s basketball team as the Leathernecks fell short 78-76 at home Saturday night against North Dakota State. It was a back and forth affair between the Bison and the Leathernecks throughout the game; however, the Bison scored some clutch baskets in the fourth quarter that gave the Leathernecks another loss in their two game home stand.

“I’m really pleased with our effort. My concern was that we would have a hangover from the emotional loss last night,” ead coach Billy Wright said.

It did not seem as if the one point loss against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks would have a negative effect on the team as the Leathernecks came out strong in the first half. The team shot over 40 percent from the field and three point range. The Leathernecks got the Bison to turn the ball over 7 times in the first half, showing that they were locked in on both sides of the basketball. Sophomore Guard Kobe Webster lead the charge with 15 points while Junior Guard C.J. Duff added 8 points and Sophomore Forward Isaac Johnson added 7 points as the big 3 helped the team lead 42-35 at halftime.

The Bison were not going away early although they were down by as much as 13 in the first half. They shot 48 percent from the field and 39 percent from three point range. Their starters were not in a rhythm early, but they got help from their bench, specifically Junior Forward Deng Geu. Geu outscored our bench by himself as he gave the Bison 12 points off the bench in 9 minutes of action. Redshirt Freshman, Tyree Ward, added 8 points off the bench and did not miss a shot in the 11 minutes he played.

There was a tale of two halves as the Bison made adjustments to begin a comeback in second half. They went on a 16-2 run in the opening minutes and never looked back. Junior Guard Vinnie Shahid is one starter that got back in rhythm in the second half scoring 10 big points for the team.

On the flip side, the Leathernecks did not keep the same aggression as they did in the first half and it really cost them the game. C.J. Duff came out strong as he scored 13 points in the second half, finishing with 21 overall. Freshmen Forward Ben Pyle kicked in as he added 9 points, finishing with 11 overall. Webster cooled down in the second half only scoring 6 points in the half, finishing with 21. The best chance the Leathernecks had at taking the lead came with five minutes left in the game when they tied it up 67-67, but the Bison took a big three that helped them control the game.

“We gave ourselves a chance to win tonight but came up short,” Coach Wright said.

The Leathernecks are now 8-15 overall this season and 3-7 in the conference, putting them second to last at the bottom of the Summit League standings. They will travel on the road this week to Fort Wayne, Indiana where they will play against the Purdue-Fort Wayne Mastodons on Thursday, February 7th. Tip-off begins at 6 p.m. as the Leathernecks look to avoid being dead last in the conference.

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Leathernecks suffer back to back loses