Men’s basketball losing streak reaches six games

Jumique Philips, Courier Staff

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — It was another disappointing night for the Leathernecks as they fell short to the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons, 69-75. Western Illinois’ record is now 5-16, which extends their losing streak to six. Senior forward James Claar shot six for six from the field and eight for eight from the free-throw line. He tallied a career high 20 points. Leatherneck’s head coach Billy Wright was impressed with Claar’s performance.

“James is just a great attitude guy and obviously came in as a great spark. He sparked energy from the bench that was needed,” Wright told WIU Athletics Communications. The Leathernecks’ season-leading scorer junior guard Kobe Webster started off hot with the first points, but later on the game, he couldn’t just get it going, shooting 4-14 and 1-7 from behind the arc. Webster still finished in double figures with 12 points.

The Leathernecks started the game hot with an 8-2 run just three minutes in, before the Mastodons found their way back in the game with back to back three-pointers before heading into the half 8-0 run which lasted for much of the second half. Western had no answer for the Mastodons’ sophomore guard Jarred Godfrey pouring in 20 points on 7-17 shooting, and behind him was freshman guard Deonte Billups finishing with 16 points, shooting 4-7 from the field.

Western Illinois’ bench made a huge contribution in this game with 26 points, but it still wasn’t enough. Late in the game, Western was trailing by 17 points, cutting the lead to 55-58 in the fourth quarter. The Leathernecks’ energy was there, but the Mastodons just pulled out a close knit game. The Leathernecks had 21 turnovers which played a major part in their loss. Both teams were dominating in the paint equally, but Fort Wayne outscored Western 30 points to 28, respectively. The Mastodons also shot 45 percent from the three.

Claar and Webster were joined in double figures by senior guard CJ Duff with 13 points and sophomore forward Ben Pyle with 10.