MACOMB, Ill. - The Cleveland State Vikings used a strong second half Saturday evening (Feb. 23) to defeat the Fighting Leathernecks 60-54 inside Western Hall. The contest was a part of the ESPN BracketBusters event, which is in its final season of existence.
The official attendance for Saturday's game was 4,259, which marked a season-high.
Adam Link led the Leathernecks with 15 points to go along with his four assists, three rebounds, one block and one steal.
Two other Leathernecks finished in double figures with Terell Parks tallying 12 and Ceola Clark III with 10. Parks also had a game-high eight rebounds and two blocks. Clark added six rebounds and dished out a game-high five assists and tallied two steals.
CSU had two players tally a game-high 16 points in Charlie Lee and Bryn Forbes.
Both team shot well from the floor with Western hitting 48.8% and Cleveland State knocking down 48.9% from the floor. Both teams also shot better than 70% from the free throw line with the Leathernecks connecting on 9-of-12 (75%) and CSU hitting 11-of-14 (78.6%).
Western jumped out to an early 15-4 advantage, but CSU slowly cut away at the Leathernecks lead, eventually finding themselves down just two at the break.
The Vikings used that momentum early in the second half as well, battling back-and-forth until the game was tied for the first time, 29-29, with 18:42 to play in regulation.
Cleveland State then took its first lead of the game on a free throw two minutes later, and quickly built its lead up to as large eight points with 12:37 left in the game.
The Leathernecks battled back to within two points on three different occasions, but couldn't tie things up, and the Vikings pulled away to a six-point victory when the final buzzer sounded.
Western concludes regular season and Summit League play next week when they play host to Kansas City Thursday (Feb. 28) and South Dakota Saturday (March 2).
Western Illinois student-athletes and 2013 Provost Award winners along with Provost and Academic Vice President Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson (back row right) and Associate Director of Athletics Matt Tanney (back row left)