WIU Runs Win Streak To Four, Beats EIU 79-75


CHARLESTON, IL – It came down to the final seconds, but the Old Railsplitter Axe is staying in Macomb. Another strong second half and some key defensive stops late gave Western Illinois a come-from-behind victory in Charleston as the Leathernecks held off the Panthers 79-75. The victory extended WIU’s winning streak to four straight.

The Leathernecks (6-4) trailed by as many as eight in the second half, but behind Alec Rosner (23 points), Jesiah West (15 points, nine rebounds, six blocks, four assists, three steals), Trenton Massner (17 points, seven rebounds, five assist) and Vuk Stevanic (14 points, four assists), Western Illinois held off its in-state rival.

Eastern Illinois had a chance to tie or take the lead in the final seconds, but KJ Lee (eight points, three rebounds) was able to get his hand on a pass, tipping the ball to Massner. Massner then knocked down a pair of free throws to create the final margin.

EIU came out hot, hitting five of its first six shots to build a lead, but the Leathernecks were able to hang around. Stevanic was the offensive catalyst early, scoring 12 first-half points to keep WIU down a point, 38-37 at half.

In the second half, Rosner and Massner were able to take over as each reached individual career milestones in the game. A pair of free throws in the first half gave Rosner 1000 career points while a second-half three pointer by Massner put the senior over 1500 career points.

Both teams came out hot early in the second half, going back and forth, but EIU was able to force a Leatherneck timeout, pulling ahead 50-42 at the 15:41 mark, but behind a 10-0 run, WIU was able to take the lead.

From there, it was back and forth with neither team pulling away in a contest that featured five ties and seven lead changes. Massner hit a basket late to Western up four, but Eastern would answer before Lee’s steal sealed the win. WIU would go 28-54 from the floor, 9-25 from three and 14-16 from the line, outrebounding Eastern Illinois 30-24.

The Leathernecks are next in action Friday night, taking on Eureka College at 7:30 at Vibrant Arena in Moline. Western Illinois then begins conference play the following Monday.


Copy provided by Western Athletic Communications

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