INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Western Illinois used a balanced scoring effort to earn a 68-59 Summit League victory at IUPUI Saturday afternoon (Feb. 2), and for the third time all year every Leatherneck that played in the game scored.
The Fighting Leathernecks improve to 17-5 overall and 9-2 in Summit League play with the win, while the the Jaguars fall to 6-19 overall and 1-10 in conference action.
Western's 17-5 overall record is tied for fifth-place in the program's NCAA Division I history.
Ceola Clark III led the way for Western with 17 points, including a 9-of-10 showing from the free throw line, and moved into 11th all-time in Western's program history with 1,354 points. The senior also had five rebounds, a team-best four assists, two steals, while not committing a turnover.
Michael Ochereobia finished with nine points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field, and 3-of-3 shooting from the free throw line.
Remy Roberts-Burnett tallied seven points, including a three as time expired in the first.
Adam Link and Jason Hawthorne each had six points, all in the first half, while Jack Houpt had five points, Don McAvoy III had four points, and Jordan Foster connected on his lone shot of the game, a three-pointer.
Western had more rebounds (33-25) and steals (7-4) than IUPUI, and less turnovers (11-12) and personal fouls (18-8).
The Jaguars shot better from the field (48%-46%) than the Leathernecks, and had more assists (20-13), blocks (4-1) and three-pointers (8-7).
Western was successful from both the free throw line (78.9%) and beyond the arc (46.7%) Saturday.
IUPUI had four players score in double figures: Donovan Gibbs (18), Mitchell Patton (13), Sean Esposito (12), and Greg Rice (10).
The Jaguars were able to tally the first two points of the game, but the Leathernecks quickly answered on their first possession. The two teams again exchanged baskets, and eventually found themselves knotted up 6-6 five minutes into the game.
IUPUI then scored five unanswered, and held its five-point lead until WIU's Hawthorne connected on his first triple of the game, ninth of the season, at the 12:42 mark, cutting the Leathernecks' deficit to two points, 11-9.
Western would remain behind IUPUI in the first until Ochereobia earned three points the hard way to tie the game at 15-15 with just over 10 minutes to play in the period.
The Leathernecks' lead wouldn't last long at the Jaguars quickly regained the advantage.
A fast break two-handed slam dunk from Link assisted by McAvoy would give the Leathernecks the lead back, 25-24, with 7:42 remaining in the first.
A 11-6 run from Western, capped off by a Roberts-Burnett triple as time expired in the half, would give the Leathernecks a 36-30 lead at the break.
The first five minutes of the second half were nearly as balanced as the first five minutes of the firs. Western would tally four points, IUPUI three, and the Leathernecks would hold a 40-33 lead at the 14:51 mark.
The next seven minutes (until the 7:58 mark of the second) would remain competitive, with Western holding on to its lead, 50-44, highlighted by a perfect lob pass from Clark to Parks. Parks finished the backend of the connection with a powerful slam dunk.
The Leathernecks would slow the pace of the game down during the final eight minutes of the game, and outscore the Jaguars 18-15 during those eight minutes on their way to a nine-point, conference victory.
Western welcomes The Summit League's newest member, Omaha, to Western Hall next Thursday (Feb. 7) at 7 p.m.