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Western Illinois Drops Close Contest to Little Rock


MACOMB – For the bulk of Thursday night’s Ohio Valley Conference contest against Little Rock, things were going well for the Western Illinois men.

But in the second half, the Leathernecks could not put away Little Rock and the Trojans made Western Illinois pay, earning a 63-60 win in Macomb.

The Leathernecks (15-9, 8-3) led by as many as 12 in the second half but the Trojans (14-11, 8-4) chipped away, then rode the hot hand of KK Robinson (23 points) for the win.

Western Illinois took a 12-point lead, 35-23 in the opening seconds of the second half on a Jesiah West bucket but Little Rock answered with a 14-2 run to force a tie at the 14:56 mark.

Western Illinois responded, pushing the lead to seven, 54-47 on a Quinlan Bennett (14 points, 10 rebounds) basket and eight, 58-50 on a Drew Cisse dunk (13 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, three assists) but Little Rock answered again going on a 13-0 run to lead 63-58 with 39 seconds left.

But the Leathernecks responded, getting a Cisse basket to cut the deficit to three with 34 seconds left.

Western Illinois forced two straight Little Rock turnovers to get multiple looks at the tie, but a pair of threes, including one at the buzzer off a James Dent Jr. (12 points) steal with three seconds remaining would not fall, handing the Leathernecks their third home loss by three or fewer points.

The shooting was the name of the game as WIU went 25-63 (39.7 percent) from the floor compared to Little Rock’s 27-53 (50.9). Western Illinois also went 5-22 (22.7 percent) from three and 5-12 (41.7 percent) from the line.

The Leathernecks outrebounded Little Rock 40-29.

Western Illinois has to recover quickly, playing UT Martin on Saturday at 11 a.m. inside Western Hall.

The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

Copy Provided By Western Athletics Communications

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