Western Illinois men’s basketball: Road Statement Victory


MUNCIE, Ind. – After a 26-year hiatus from competition, the Western Illinois men’s basketball team was more than hungry this time out as the Leathernecks defeated Ball State 69-62 on Tuesday (Nov. 26) night. 
“Huge win for our team,” head coach Billy Wright said. “Give credit to our players for their approach and attitude that started two days ago in practice. We kept talking about how we have the right ingredients and mindset but it just took a big win like this on the road against a great team.”
In a two-possession game with the clock counting down, Kobe Webster droved a kissed it in, to cap of an18 point performance and made it 67-61 at 0:27. Zion Young sealed the thriller sinking two free throws en route to Western’s perfect 13-13 from the charity stripe with eight seconds left. 
The Leathernecks defeated Ball State for the third time in program history as the last came at Western Hall on Dec. 12, 1986 (WIU 93, BS 78). 
Ball State chipped away the Western advantage and tied it on a three in the corner at 3:49, but C.J. Duff answered with his fourth three of the night and regained the lead the next possession, 62-59. 
Right from winning the tip, James Claar paced the Leatherneck attack. The forward notched three offensive rebounds to total four points quickly, and WIU led 8-3 at 14:15. The big man showed off his range with a jumper in the paint to extend the WIU advantage 22-8 at 6:23. Claar finished new career-highs in rebounds (13) and points (18).
Anthony Jones made his presence known in his local state as he drilled a three-pointer on his first shot of the night, and the Leathernecks entered half up 34-23.  
Webster was dishing the rock and converting it in the lane all night. He earned four assists and completed a three-point play at 4:56 to make it 30-10 for Western’s largest lead of the night. 
Four starters recorded double digits in Webster (18), Young (15), Claar (12), Duff (10), while Ben Pyle nearly made it all five as he poured in nine, respectively.
Western Illinois travels to Kansas City Saturday (Nov. 30) to take on the Roos, who announced their return to The Summit League starting Fall 2020. 

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