CHARLESTON, Ill. - Western Illinois men's basketball used a dominant second half effort to overcome a 12-point deficit and defeat Eastern Illinois 57-45 at Lantz Arena on Wednesday night.
Junior Adam Link (15 points), senior Ceola Clark III (14) and fellow senior Terell Parks (11) all scored in double figures to lead the comeback effort and push the Fighting Leathernecks' winning streak to three games. The Panthers fall to 3-7 with the nonconference loss.
Parks set a career high in blocks for a second straight game, stuffing six shots after recording five blocks at Kansas City on Saturday.
Clark also matched his career high in steals (six), with four of them coming during the second half turnaround.
Trailing 24-12 late in the first half, Western Illinois ended the game on a 45-21 run, including outscoring the Panthers 37-19 in the second half.
Down 34-27 at the 12:28 mark, Parks completed an old-fashioned three-point play and Clark drained a three-pointer to spark a 13-0 run, which pushed the Leathernecks ahead, 40-34.
Senior Jack Houpt then answered a pair of Panther baskets with a trey each time to increase the margin to 46-38 with 4:35 to play.
Western sank eight free throws in the final two minutes to keep the Panthers at bay, with the score closing at 57-45.
Houpt finished with nine points and six rebounds, while Parks pulled down eight, continuing his streak of seven or more rebounds in every game this season.
The Leathernecks didn't allow any Panthers to score in double figures, with Malcom Herron leading the way with eight.
"I think we played 35 seconds of defense almost every time [in the second half]," head coach Jim Molinari said. "That was a great win for us. I think we played extremely hard in the second half."
Western greatly improved its shooting in the second half, going 10-of-17 (58.8%) in the second frame after shooting 6-of-15 (40%) in the first, including an increase in three-point shooting from 0-of-5 (0%) to 4-of-5 (80%)
The Leathernecks limited EIU to 19-of-47 shooting (40.4%), including just 3-of-16 (18.8%) from long distance. WIU also had the edge in rebounding, 29-24.
Western will return home to open a seven-game homestand, beginning with a 7 p.m. rematch against SIU-Edwardsville on Saturday.