WIU Completes Home Sweep


MACOMB, IL – When it comes to owning the glass, there aren’t many teams better at it than the Western Illinois men’s basketball team.

The Leathernecks flexed their muscles again, outrebounding Lindenwood 50-23 to run their winning streak to seven games, topping the Lions 68-57 on Saturday.

“Defense and rebounding are defining us now, I like the fact that multiple players are stepping up, JJ Kalakon (13 points, six rebounds) is playing really well, James Dent Jr. (14 points, four rebounds), Drew Cisse (nine points, 17 rebounds), Jesiah West (14 points, 11 rebounds), everyone who is playing is playing really well,” Western Illinois coach Chad Boudreau said. “Our energy is really good, it’s nice to get a little more depth as we get into conference play, I like the ball movement, I like the unselfishness, the only thing we’re selfish on right now is offensive and defensive rebounding, the rebounding is becoming very competitive it has been all year.”

Western Illinois came out slow but began pulling away midway through the first half, improving to 10-6 overall and 3-0 in conference play. The 3-0 start is the best conference start for the program since the 2012-13 season, the last time WIU won a conference regular season title.

“We’re 3-0 but right now that doesn’t mean anything, we have to keep at, keep the same approach, there are some things we have to improve on offense.”

Playing their second game in a week, the Leathernecks did have a slow start against Lindenwood, which was playing for the first time this week.

The Lions took a 21-11 lead with 9:19 to go in the first half.

“I credit Lindenwood for that, Coach Gerdeman does a great job, I think they had a ton of energy, they ran their stuff, they did a good job defensively and they hit us in the mouth,” Boudreau said. “It took us a minute to respond and we did. We hit a couple of shots and we got stops, that was the thing, during that stretch, we strung seven straight in a row and that helped our offense.

“To start the game, I didn’t think we were very patient, too much slow isolation plays, once we got back in it, the crowd got back in it.”

The Leathernecks punched back, closing the half on a 23-7 run to lead 34-28 at the half.

“It’s a nice thing about having a veteran team, those guys are seniors, they’re returners and they have a great approach, the guys have a professional, mature approach,” Boudreau said. “This group is tough and together, intelligent and they’re able to work through some things. When you’re tired, you have to stay in system and do your job. I credit the guys for that, their approach has been great.”

After the break, Western Illinois was in control, never trailing and leading by 15.

For the game, WIU went 26-62 (41.9 percent) from the floor, 6-17 from three (35.3) and 10-15 (66.7) from the line. Lindenwood went 24-53 (45.3), from the field, 2-8 (25.0) from three, and 7-14 (50.0) from the line.

Western Illinois’ 24 offensive rebounds led to 17 second-chance points.

The Leathernecks next play on Thursday, hitting the road to take on UT Martin. WIU follows that with a Saturday afternoon contest at Eastern Illinois.

Copy Provided By Western Athletics Communications

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