ON TAP: The Western Illinois men's basketball team (2-1) continues play in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Saturday evening (Nov. 17) versus the tournament hosts, Evansville. The Purple Aces enter the contest 1-2 after defeating Yale Friday evening, 66-56.
THIS DATE IN PROGRAM HISTORY (NOV. 17): Saturday's game versus Evansville will be the fifth game the Leathernecks have ever played on the 17th of November, all of which occurred in the new millennium (2000)...In 2003, the Leathernecks lost to Missouri State 82-71, and picked up their only win on the date over Radford in overtime, 75-72...Western played then #22 Kansas State in 2007 and lost 77-64, and most recently gave Then 17th-rated Michigan a scare, falling to the Wolverines, 59-55.
LAST TIME OUT: Ceola Clark III finished with a game-high 19 points, and Don McAvoy III grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds as the Western Illinois men’s basketball team (2-1) bounced back with a 67-58 victory over Buffalo (1-2) Friday evening (Nov. 16) in the Leathernecks' opening game of the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Besides his 19 points, Clark also five boards, had four assists, and a block. McAvoy nearly finished with his first-career double-double, recording nine points to go with his 11 rebounds, and had one assist, one steal, and one block.
Terell Parks and Adam Link also tallied double-digits in the win, finishing with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Parks also pulled down eight rebounds, had three blocks, dished out three assists, and had two steals. Link had three assists and a pair of rebounds as well.
Parks’ three blocks moved him into fifth-place all-time at Western.
As a team, the Leathernecks greatly improved in the turnover battle compared to their game at SIU-E (18 turnovers), finishing with eight.
Buffalo shot just 38.9% from the field compared to Western’s 46.3%. Both teams had relatively similar numbers from beyond the arch (WIU:7-10/UB:6/13) and at the free throw line (WIU:10-15/UB:10-16).
Western held its largest lead of the game with :33 remaining in regulation after Clark connected on the backend of a pair of free throws.
2012 COACHES VS. CANCER CLASSIC
WHO: Western Illinois Leathernecks (2-1) at Evansville Purple Aces (1-2)
WHERE: Evansville, Ind. • Ford Center (10,000)
WHEN: Saturday, November 17 at 7:35 p.m.
SERIES HISTORY: Evansville leads 3-0
LAST MEETING: February 18, 2012, Evansville defeated Western 68-45
FOLLOW THE ACTION
The Dog (88.3 FM) and Classic 103 (102.7 FM)
Talent: Beau Spencer
AcesTV via GoPurpleAces.com
A LOOK AT THE PURPLE ACES: Evansville is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference and enters Saturday with a 1-2 record...Last season Evansville finished 16-16 overall and 9-9 in conference play...The Purple Aces finished third in league standings last season, and defeated Missouri State in the first round of the conference tournament before losing to Creighton...Evansville also participated in the CBI and lost to Princeton...So far this season they have lost to Notre Dame and Buffalo, then defeated Yale most recently...Saturday’s game versus Western will mark the Purple Aces final Coaches vs. Cancer game...Evansville has four players averaging 8.0 points per game or better: Lewis Jones (9.0), Colt Ryan (8.5), DJ Balentine (8.3), Ned Cox (8.0)...They also have two players leading the team in rebounds, each pulling down five or more per game: Ryan Sawvell (5.7) and Troy Taylor (5.0)...Taylot also leads the team with 13 assists.
COACHING EVANSVILLE: The Purple Aces are coached by Marty Simmons (Evansville ‘87) who is in his sixth year at the helm...Simmons enters Saturday with a 68-90 record at Evansville...He owns a career coaching record of 166-163...Spent time at SIU-Edwardsville and Wartburg.
THE SERIES: Evansville leads the all-time series 3-0...The most recent contest came last year in an ESPN BracketBusters contest when the Purple Aces won, 68-45...The first-ever meeting came in December 6, 2004 when Evansville defeated Western (72-55)...UE then downed the Leathernecks 70-63 the following year on December 10th.
WHAT’S IN A WESTERN WIN?: A win would mark the 1,205th victory in program history...A win would mark head coach Jim Molinari’s 50th victory at Western, and his 273rd victory all-time as a head coach...A win would be Western’s first-ever over Evansville and improve the Leathernecks’ series record vs. the Purple Aces to 1-3.
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 1,144 career points...He is 26 points away from passing Jack Pensinger (1,169 points) on Western all-time points list, and 28 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 192 career steals to date.
STEALS (DIVISION I) Year
1. 192 Ceola Clark III 2009-pr
2. 167 Bill Heisler 1997-01
3. 138 Andre Humphrey 1993-95
#CC3: Ceola Clark III sits second in career triples made at Western with 185, and fifth in career three-pointers attempted with 422...Clark is 32 threes away from moving into first on Western’s all-time three pointers list (Bill Heisler - 216).
3-POINT FG (DIVISION I) Year
1. 216 Bill Heisler 1997-01
2. 188 Ceola Clark III 2009-pr
3. 181 Brandon Creason 1995-99
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 345 career assists while at Western, which ranks 3rd all-time (1. Dwayne Banks - 506 & 2. Daryl Reed - 361).
1. 506 Dwayne Banks 1977-80
2. 361 Daryl Reed 1982-86
3. 349 Ceola Clark III 2009-pr
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 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: Western concludes play in the Coaches vs. Caner Classic vs. Yale at 2 p.m. Sunday.