ON TAP: The Western Illinois men's basketball team travels to Edwardsville, Ill. Wednesday (Nov. 14) for a non conference tilt with the SIU-E Cougars. The two teams are slated to begin action at 7 p.m.
THIS DATE IN PROGRAM HISTORY (NOV. 14): Wednesday's game takes place on the 14th of November...The men's basketball program owns a 1-1 record all-time on the date...Their first game that took place on Nov. 14th was at Kennesaw State where Western lost, 85-63...It was head coach Jim Molinari's first-ever game as the Leathernecks' head coach...Two year's later coach Molinari and the Leathernecks traveled to Savannah, Georgia, and defeated the Savannah State Tigers, 83-47...Ceola Clark III finished with a game-high 22 points in the win on 6-of-11 shooting...Clark also had three rebounds, a block, a steal, and an assist against Savannah State.
LAST TIME OUT: A balanced attack from the Western Illinois men's basketball team helped the Fighting Leathernecks to a 71-39 victory over the Wabash Little Giants last Saturday (Nov. 10) inside Western Hall.
“I thought that was a good game for us, in that it was a physical game," said Western Illinois head coach Jim Molinari. "I thought the game changed when we started pressuring the ball, when we started doing that that, it really helped us. That’s what changed the game for us in the first half, we started getting turnovers. That’s how Western Illinois Basketball has to look, possession-by-possession, get good shots and be physical.”
The Leathernecks were down early on, but Wabash's lead didn't last long as Western knotted things up at 4-4 five minutes into the game. It was a back-and-forth battle until there were about six minutes left in the first half, when the Leathernecks went on a 14-0 run and took a 30-13 lead. The big 14-0 run was part of an 18-2 Western run to close the first half as the Leathernecks took a 34-15 advantage into the break.
From there it was all Western as the Little Giants' didn't get closer than 14 points throughout the remainder of the game and Western cruised to a 71-39 victory.
WHO: Western Illinois (1-0) at SIU-Edwardsville (0-1)
WHERE: Edwardsville, Ill. • Vadalabene (4,000)
WHEN: Wednesday, November 14 at 7 p.m.
SERIES HISTORY: Western leads 5-1
LAST MEETING: January 2, 1985: Western defeated SIU-E, 75-70
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A LOOK AT THE COUGARS: SIU-Edwardsville is a member of the Ohio Valley...Last season SIU-E finished the year with a 10-17 overall record, went 6-10 in the OVC, and finished ninth in the conference standings...The Cougars opened the season last Saturday, November 10, with a 83-69 loss at Missouri...The Cougars had four players finish with 10-plus points in the game: Jerome Jones (17), Michael Messer (13), Kris Davis (11) and Maurice Wiltz (11)...Derian Shaffer led the team in rebounds with nine, and Maurice Wiltz dished out a team-high four assists to go along with his 11 points...After their game with Western, the Cougars will play host to SIU-Carbondale on Tuesday, November 20.
COACHING SIU-EDWARDSVILLE: The Cougars are coached by sixth year man Lennox Forrester (Evansville '92)...Forrester enters Wednesday's game with a 50-93 record while coaching at SIU-E.
THE SERIES: Western leads the all-time series, 5-1...The last meeting between the two teams came on January 2, 1985 when Western defeated SIU-E, 75-70...The first-ever meeting came on February 24, 1970 and Western won 94-81...SIU-E's lone victory against Western came on January 29, 1975, 71-70.
WHAT’S IN A WESTERN WIN?: A win would mark the 1,204th victory in program history...A win would mark head coach Jim Molinari’s 49th victory at Western, and his 272nd victory all-time as a head coach...A win would be Western's sixth-ever over SIU-E and increase the Leathernecks' series record to 6-1...A win would be Western's second straight this season.
AT THE HELM: Jim Molinari took over the Western Illinois program at the start of the 2008-09 season, and during his fourth season at the helm of the Leatherneck men’s basketball program, Molinari put Western Illinois basketball back on the map...He was tabbed Summit League ‘Coach of the Year’ by CollegeInsider.com after leading the Leathernecks to a 18-15 overall record, a fourth-place finish in the The Summit League with a 9-9 league record, and the programs first-ever Division I postseason berth (2012 College Basketball Invitational).
GRANTED A SIXTH YEAR: Senior guard Ceola Clark III was granted a 6th year of eligibility in April, 2012, by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)...Clark had this to say about another year at Western” “It feels great,” said Clark. “Getting the opportunity to play the game I love for another year. I’m coming back with more determination than ever. Being able to play with a group of guys that took the men’s basketball program to where it hasn’t been in years, and being so close to making the NCAA Tournament, I’m excited to get one more shot with my team.”
THE RECORD BOOKS: Ceola Clark III ranks 18th overall in points scored in program history with 1,110 career points...He is 60 points away from passing Jack Pensinger (1,169 points) on Western all-time points list, and 62 away from passing Lupe Rios (1,171 points).
ALL-TIME STEALS LEADER: Ceola Clark III became the Western Illinois career steals leader last season, picking up his 168th swipe at UMKC on January 19th, 2012...Clark passed Bill Heisler who finished his playing career with 167 steals...Clark has 191 career steals to date.
#CC3: Ceola Clark III sits second in career triples made at Western with 191, and fifth in career three-pointers attempted with 416...Clark is 35 threes away from moving into first on Western's all-time three pointers list (Bill Heisler - 216).
DISHIN’ THE ROCK: Ceola Clark III makes everyone else on the court around him better because of his ability to make great passes...Clark has amassed 342 career assists while at Western, which ranks 3rd all-time (1. Dwayne Banks - 506 & 2. Daryl Reed - 361).
PRESEASON POLL: The Western Illinois men's basketball team was picked to finish fourth in The Summit League's annual preseason poll of league coaches, SIDs and media after receiving 274 points. The Fighting Leathernecks had a league-high two players selected to Preseason All-League First Team in seniors Ceola Clark III and Terell Parks. The
fourth-place prediction is the highest for Western since the 2005-06
season when the Leathernecks were picked to finish fourth.
MORE PRESEASON RECOGNITION: After being tabbed Preseason All-Summit League First Team by the league's coaches, media and SIDs (Oct. 17), Ceola Clark III and Terell Parks were again honored, this time by College Sports Madness. Both Clark and Parks were named Preseason All-Summit League First Team by the staff at College Sports Madness.
2012-13 SENIOR CLASS: Led by Ceola Clark III who enters his sixth year at Western Illinois, the Leathernecks have four total seniors this year...Jack Houpt is in his third year at Western, while Terell Parks and Don McAvoy III are each in their second season season as Leathernecks.
RETURNERS: This season the Fighting Leathernecks have six returners, seniors Ceola Clark III, Terell Parks, Jack Houpt and Don McAvoy III, junior Billy Molinari and sophomore Remy Roberts-Burnett.
NEWCOMERS: This past offseason coach Molinari and the men's basketball program brought in seven newcomers including two JUCO transfers in Adam Link and Michael Ochereobia...Western also has five freshmen this season in: Jordan Foster, Jamaal Walker, Jason Hawthorne, Isaiah Duncan and John Schneider.
WHAT IS A LEATHERNECK?: Western Illinois holds the distinction of being the only non-military institution to officially have its nickname derived from a branch of the military service. The school began use of the Marine Corps’ official nickname, “The Fighting Leathernecks,” in 1927 when then-athletic director and head baseball, basketball and football coach Ray “Rock” Hanson was granted permission by the U.S. Navy, based on his status as a Marine hero, to use the Marine’s official seal, bulldog mascot and nickname.
UP NEXT: The Leathernecks take part in the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer classic at Evansville. Western plays Buffalo, Evansville, and Yale in the classic.