Vermillion, S.D. — The Leathernecks went on the road this week to take on the University of South Dakota Coyotes. Western Illinois was riding a six-game losing streak, before making it seven losses in a row after falling 85-72.
Western Illinois was looking to complete the season sweep against South Dakota, after winning their previous matchup at home in thrilling fashion. However, it was a much different story on the road for the Leathernecks.
The game got off to a quick tart and the Purple and Gold were getting buckets early and often in the Dakota Dome. Western Illinois led by as many as 11 points in the first half but were unable to hold on to the lead due to the aggressive play of the Coyotes.
In the second half, it was all South Dakota. They bullied Western’s smaller lineup and made it tough for the Leathernecks to keep up with their scoring.
We wanted to take advantage of the matchups with their smaller players so we put a big emphasis on driving the ball inside and making harder cuts to get to the line more in the second half. After only getting to the line two times in the first half, we did a nice job getting to the line in the second half attempting 23 free throws,” South Dakota Head Coach Todd Lee said via Goyotes.com.
The Coyotes were led by the trio of Stanley Umude, Tyler Hagedorn and Triston Simpson. The trio combined for 59 points and was led by Umude’s strong offensive night with 28 points on only 10 shots.
For Western Illinois, it was more of the same story, just a different game. They were led by the two-headed monster of Kobe Webster and Zion Young. Webster was sizzling on the offensive end, as he tied for his career high in scoring with 29 points. Behind him was his supporting guard, Young, who dropped 21 points. Despite the duo combining for 50 of the team’s 72 points, the Leathernecks were unable to secure a victory due to a poor performance from other members of the rotation. Anthony Jones was the third leading scorer with seven points, and Ben Pyle added five total points.
Western Illinois will regroup, and look to end this seven-game losing skid at home on Saturday. They host the University of North Dakota, in a game which will be a big factor come seeding time for The Summit League Tournament. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Western Hall and you can watch the game on ESPN+.