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Leathernecks Get Tough in Road Win at Tennessee Tech


COOKEVILLE, TN – In conference play, it is never easy, especially on the road. But when the going gets tough, get the ball to your tough guy. That’s what Western Illinois did Thursday night, winning 62-55 at Tennessee Tech.

The victory sees WIU improve to 16-10 overall and 9-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference, remaining in a tie for second place.

The Leathernecks led most of the way, but the Golden Eagles did not fade, hanging around and eventually taking their first lead, 50-49 with 5:12 to play. But on WIU’s next possession, James Dent Jr. hit a three-pointer to put the Leathernecks ahead for good.

From there, WIU relied on their tough guy, Jesiah West (19 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks, three steals) to bring home the win.

West delivered the goods, scoring six of Western Illinois’ final 10 points, adding an assist, a steal, and a couple of rebounds in the final minutes to keep Western Illinois in second place in the OVC.

The win also improves WIU to 7-1 on the road in league play and gives the team nine road victories, the most since the 1996-97 season, and nine conference wins, the most since 2012-13.

Ryan Myers added 11 points. Dent Jr. scored eight and Quinlan Bennett chipped in with seven. Drew Cisse added six points, eight rebounds, and four assists. JJ Kalakon scored five points, grabbed six rebounds, handed out four assists, and blocked two shots.

Western Illinois heads to Nashville to take on Tennessee State on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

The Leathernecks opened the game on the right foot, jumping to a 7-0 lead. But Tennessee Tech did not allow Western Illinois to run away with the game, staying within shouting distance to trail 27-21 at halftime. Western Illinois led by as many as seven in the second half, 33-26 before TTU went to work, tying the game at 38-38 with 12:28 left. The Leathernecks responded with a quick 5-0 run. The Golden Eagles responded with a 12-6 run to take their only lead.

The win snapped a brief two-game losing skid for the Leathernecks, their longest in league play.

As a team, Western Illinois went 26-55 from the floor (47 percent), 5-8 (63 percent) from the line and 5-21 (24 percent) from three. The Leathernecks outrebounded Tennessee Tech 36-27.

Copy Provided By Western Athletics Communications

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