Western Illinois Men’s Basketball Win Streak Snapped in Final Seconds vs. Tennessee State



All good things end, and unfortunately for the Western Illinois men’s basketball team, their nine-game win streak did on Saturday as Tennessee State topped the Leathernecks 58-57 inside Western Hall.

Western Illinois (12-7 overall, 5-1 in Ohio Valley Conference) trailed by as many as 11 in the second half (56-45, 6:34 left) but rallied back, taking a 57-56 lead on a Quinlan Bennett (10 points, three rebounds) basket with 1:24 to go.

Neither team could manage a basket over the next 1:20 but Tennessee State scored with three seconds left to grab the lead. 

A Western Illinois shot at the buzzer was off the mark, giving the Leathernecks their first loss in conference play.

The Leathernecks managed to get off to a good start, leading by as many as 11 in the first half, 28-17. The Tigers chipped away, cutting the Western Illinois lead to seven at the break, 28-21.

After intermission, Tennessee State would ramp up the offense and defense, going on a 20-4 run over the first six minutes to lead 41-32.
The lead grew to 11 before back-to-back-to-back three points by JJ Kalakon (12 points, six rebounds), Ryan Myers (16 points, three rebounds), and James Dent Jr. (11 points) cut the deficit to two in under two minutes.

A free throw by Dent Jr. made it a 56-55 Tennessee State lead with 4:02 to go, setting the stage for the frantic finish.

Jesiah West added three points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Drew Cisse finished with five points and eight rebounds.

Western Illinois went 21-55 from the field, 6-17 from three, and 9-16 from the line. The Tigers went 24-57 from the field, 5-7 from the line and 5-11 from three, including 4-5 in the second half.

The Leathernecks outrebounded Tennessee State 40-31. The Tigers outscored Western Illinois 22-11 on bench points and 18-9 on points off turnovers.

Western Illinois now hits the road for four straight games, beginning Thursday at Southern Indiana. The Leathernecks follow that with a trip to the new OVC leader, Morehead State on Saturday.

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