VERMILLION, S.D. – Ceola Clark III’s late-game heroics, a teardrop in the paint as time expired, trumped a late game-tying three from South Dakota’s Juevol Myles, giving the Leathernecks a victory Thursday evening (Nov. 29) in dramatic fashion.
With the win Western is now 4-3 overall and a 1-0 in Summit League play, while USD falls to 3-4 overall and 0-1 in conference action.
Clark led four Western Illinois players in double-figures with 20 points. He also had four assists, three rebounds, and two steals.
With his 18 points, Clark now has 1,195 career points, and moves into 16th on the Leathernecks’ all-time scoring list. His four assists on the night also bumps him into second all-time in assists at Western, having dished out 264 career helpers.
Newcomer Michael Ochereobia played significant minutes down the stretch when Parks was in foul trouble, finishing the contest with three points, five rebounds, and a block.
Western had only eight turnovers in the game, the third time this season they finished with less than 10, compared to USD’s 14. The Leathernecks capitalized on the Coyote turnovers, scoring 23 points off of them.
Western shot 50% (24-of-48), while USD connected on 48% (24-of-50) of their shots.
South Dakota was led by Myles who finished with a game-high 21 points and had five assists.
Unlike last Saturday at Savannah State, the Leathernecks came out shooting well from the field, making their first three shots, and taking a 7-2 early advantage.
A layup from senior Jack Houpt, followed by Clark’s second three of the game gave Western a 12-6 lead.
USD would respond with a 4-0 run and make it a one possession game midway through the period, but Clark would hit his third trey of the game, and spark a 9-0 for the Leathernecks.
McAvoy capped off the run with a thunderous baseline slam dunk at the 8:49 mark, giving the Leathernecks a 21-10 lead.
South Dakota wouldn’t get closer than eight points for the rest of the first as Western took a 12-point lead, 31-19, into the locker room at halftime.
The Coyotes put together a 14-4 run to open the second half, a run that would last just over five minutes into the period, and make it 35-33.
A longer jumper from Clark would end USD’s big run, but the Coyotes would eventually knot things up at 40-40 with 13 minutes to play in the game.
Western wouldn’t allow South Dakota to take the lead, however, as Ochereobia would finish a two-handed slam underneath the basket, followed by a three-pointer from Foster, giving the Leathernecks a 45-40 advantage.
The two teams would battle back-and-forth for the rest of the game leading up to USD’s game-tying trey with under 10 seconds to play, followed by Clark’s game-winning floater as time expired.
The Leathernecks continue Summit League play, and road action Saturday (Dec. 1) at Kansas City. Tip-off is slated for 4:05 p.m.