MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois men's basketball team played its first of two exhibition games Thursday evening (Nov. 1) inside Western Hall, defeating Harris-Stowe State by a score of 77-56.
“It’s just different. It feels different, and I mean that in a positive
way," said head coach Jim Molinari. "Even though our crowd numbers weren’t great, for an exhibition game
this was the best turnout we’ve had, and I think there’s just an
expectation level, and an anticipation and excitement.
Jordan’s (Foster) way ahead of any freshman I’ve had in the intangibles. In the
second half, I thought he did a tremendous job."
The Leathernecks jumped out to an early 19-6 lead, but the Hornets were able to climb back and make it close at the end of the first half, cutting Western's lead to 32-31.
Harris-Stowe State kept the game close, trailing by one, until about three minutes into the second half, when the Leathernecks began to pull away. Western used a 9-0 run to jump out to a 45-35 advantage and eventually built its lead up to 21 with 2:38 left in the game.
Their 21-point lead remained, and the Leathernecks closed out their first exhibition of the season with a 77-56 win.
"I think this is a very unselfish team," continued coach Molinari. "Ceola’s (Clark) such a great passer, I think Jordan is a willing passer, I think Terrell (Parks) is a very, very underrated passer, and Mike throws the ball well out of the post. I told them to go out there, figure it out, and play.”
Terell Parks and newcomer, freshman Jordan Foster led Western with 14 points each, with Parks going 6-of-11 from the floor and Foster connecting on 6-of his-8 shots. Foster also finished with a team-high four assists, while Parks had two blocks.
Ceola Clark III added 11 points and three assists for the Leathernecks, while Don McAvoy III and Michael Ochereobia each tallied nine points in the win. McAvoy dished out four assists, while Ochereobia grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and blocked a team-best three shots.
The Leathernecks conclude their exhibition season at home next Monday (Nov. 5) against Missouri S&T. The game is slated to begin at 7 p.m.