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WIU Drops Close Contest to UT Martin


MACOMB – It was tight throughout, but unfortunately for the Western Illinois men’s basketball team, another close game at home did not go their way as UT Martin topped the Leathernecks 62-59 inside Western Hall on Saturday.

The loss was the second straight for WIU and the fourth by three or fewer at home.

Western Illinois falls to 15-10 overall and 8-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference, finding itself in a three-way tie for second place in the league.

Neither team was able to take control of the game as WIU’s largest lead of the contest was six points and UTM Martin’s was four. But while the game remained tight throughout, the Leathernecks led the bulk of the way, holding an advantage for 24:30.

The Leathernecks led by four, 56-52 with 4:58 to go in the game after a James Dent Jr. basket. But the Skyhawks went on an 8-0 run, taking a 60-56 lead with 2:35 to go.

Jesiah West (19 points, seven rebounds, four assists) cut the deficit to three with a free throw, then a Drew Cisse (five points, 11 rebounds, five assists) dunk made it a 60-59 UT Martin lead with 59 seconds left. The Leathernecks had a chance to take the lead, but a missed shot and a shot clock violation forced WIU to foul.

Martin hit a pair of free throws to put the lead to 62-59 with seven seconds left and Western Illinois’ desperation three-pointer was off the mark as time expired.

Western Illinois now hits the road for a pair of games, visiting Tennessee Tech on Thursday and Tennessee State on Saturday.

The Leathernecks struggle from the floor, going 24-60 (40 percent) from the field, 3-12 (25 percent) from three, and 8-15 (53.3 percent) from the line.

UT Martin went 25-60 (41.7 percent) from the field, 4-10 (40 percent) from three, and 8-10 (80 percent) from the line.

JJ Kalakon finished with 12 points while Quinlan Bennett scored 11 points.

Copy Provided by Western Athletics Communications


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