Men’s basketball continues four-game home stand against UT Martin

Christopher Bean, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Western Illinois men’s basketball team will host the University of Tennessee Martin Skyhawks tonight at 7 p.m. in Western Hall. These two teams will meet for the second team in as many years. Last year, the Skyhawks got a slim 92-90 win over the Leathernecks.

The Leathernecks are still looking for their first win of the year after dropping their first two games last week to Indiana and Stetson. In their most recent loss to Stetson, the Purple and Gold were in the lead for most of the game, but unfortunately for them, they lost the lead with seven minutes left and never regained the lead in their 77-75 loss to the Hatters. Zion Young, Ben Pyle and C.J. Duff all scored double figures; combining for 48 of their 75 points. Kobe Webster added nine points in the first half, but could not score in the second half, and is currently one point away from scoring 1,000 points as a Leatherneck. The bench added another 14 points, but were outscored 18-14 by the Hatter bench.

After the first two games of the year, the Leathernecks have relied heavily on their starters. Every starter played 26-plus minutes on Saturday, and have played 25-plus minutes in both games with the exception of Duff’s 21 minutes against the Hoosiers. With Keshon Montague and Jeremiah Usiosefe not playing, the Leathernecks will need to make up for their production. DreShawn Allen, Kyle Arrington, Jaden King and Roderick Smith have all played 16-plus minutes so far this season in their first season’s as Leathernecks. They have combined for all 29 of their bench points, and will need to step up their production in the absence of Montague and Usiosefe.

UT Martin is 1-1 coming into tonight, with a blowout win over St. Louis College of Pharmacy and a 17-point loss to East Tennessee State. Just like last year, senior Forward Quintin Dove leads the way on offense for the Skyhawks. He is averaging 24.5 points a game in UT Martin’s first two games. Dove has been a fantastic scorer since transferring to UT Martin last year. He earned All-Ohio Conference Second Team, and had the 24th best field goal percentage in the country with his .597 percentage. Before transferring to UT Martin, Dove went to Cuyahoga Community College and earned first team NJCAA Division II All-American. He helped his team to finish seventh in the country with 32-2 in his last year before transferring to UT Martin. The Purple and Gold’s defensive game plan will revolve around one of the best shooters in the nation, as they found out in last years match up. Dove only played 18 minutes, scoring 14 points on went 6-10 from the field, proving why he was one of the best shooters in the nation.

The Leathernecks are currently on a four-game home stand, their largest home stand of the year. After tonight’s game, the Leathernecks will host Northern Illinois and Central Christian of the Bible to end their home stand. The Leathernecks will look to pick up their first win of the year and move to .500 on the home stand.

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