“The game was choppy. The reason is, even though we did a lot of good things, when you shoot that way from the free throw line and you turn the ball over that much, the game is not smooth,” said head coach Jim Molinari. “If you can get those two things to run a little better, I think this would have been a very good effort for us. Eureka did a good job, they played two nights in a row and they ran out of some gas. It was a good game for us to get back home. We took less threes, we played more like the way that I’m comfortable with.”
The Leathernecks kicked the game off with a 7-0 run, and jumped out to a 15-8 lead midway through the first. WIU never gave up its lead, and never allowed the Red Devils to get within six the rest of the way.
Western’s largest lead of the game was 27 points at the end of the game.
WIU improves to 1-3 after the win, while Eureka falls to 0-3 in the season.
Stensgaard recorded his first career double-double in the win by posting 14 points and 11 rebounds, both game highs.
“Tate has played extremely well,” continued Molinari. “Today we played him at the five; we played him inside so he was a bit more comfortable around the basket. He’s 6-9 and he’s long, he’s a long athlete and he has great quickness for his size.”
Adding 13 points for the Leathernecks was Miklusak. The freshman knocked down three triples, while also grabbing four rebounds and recording three assists, two blocks and two steals.
“I thought Mike (Miklusak) played really well. I think it showed he had the freshest legs. We have a tired team and we have to get some legs back and get some rest,” concluded Molinari.
Senior Adam Link dished out a career-high six assists to go along with his 12 points and five rebounds. Link also nabbed a team-high three steals.
Junior Remy Roberts-Burnett tallied eight points in the win on 4-of-5 shooting, while freshmen Garret Covington and Jabari Sandifer each tallied seven points. Roberts-Burnett also had four assists and two blocks.
As a team Western shot a season-best 60.7% (34-of-56) from the field, but struggled from the free throw line, making only 6-of-17 (35.3%). Eureka shot 40% (20-of-50) in the contest and 66.7% (8-of-12) from the charity stripe.
The Leathernecks finished with 22 assists compared to the Red Devils' eight. WIU outscored EC 42-16 in the paint, and tallied 17 second-chance points to Eureka’s zero.
The Leathernecks will now return to the road to face Southeastern Louisiana Tuesday (Nov. 26).