Men’s basketball looks to make it two in a row against Oral Roberts

Brendan Reidy , Courier Staff


The Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks will host the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles tomorrow night. Western Illinois will be honoring Martin Luther King Jr. for MLK night partnered with the Multicultural Center. The event will feature the singing of the Black National Anthem at halftime.

Western Illinois came into this one off a nail-biting victory against the University of Denver. The Leathernecks were in control almost all game, but near the end of regulation, the Pioneers made a surge toward a comeback. However, Ben Pyle hit a late three to ice the game and secure the Leathernecks’ second conference victory on the season.

The Golden Eagles will fly into Macomb riding a two-game winning streak. Oral Roberts defeated North Dakota on Saturday, and improved their conference record to 2-2. The Golden Eagles will look to keep scorching the nets on Thursday behind reigning Summit League Player of the Week, DeAndre Burns.

Thursday’s matchup will feature two Summit League squads looking to climb the conference ladder. Oral Roberts leads the all-time series 33-11 and will look to extend their lead even more. For Western Illinois, they will look to build off momentum and attempt to outscore the elite Golden Eagle defense.

The Leathernecks will look to sophomores Zion Young and Pyle. Pyle is coming off his career high in points with 21 against Denver, and Young is continuing his promising sophomore campaign looking to gain another Summit League Player of the Week award.

However, the Golden Eagles will provide a tough test for a challenged Leatherneck defense. Oral Roberts has an explosive offense led by Nzekwesi and Abmas who average 14.5 points per game.

The key for a Western Illinois victory is going to be limiting Oral Roberts top scorers. They have four players who average double figures, and they will have to contain them if they want to come out on top on Thursday. On the offensive side of the ball, they will have to get Kobe Webster involved. Webster has been a tad quiet this year compared to last. If the Leathernecks can get Webster hot and play good defense, Western Illinois should have no problem getting a win on their home court.

It should be a good one on Thursday, and a very important one that may end up deciding seeding in The Summit League Conference Tournament. The two Summit League opponents will take the hardwood at Western Hall at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed on and on the Leathernecks Sports Network.

Twitter: @breidytv