Men's Basketball Looks for Momentum in Final Summit League Game
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Wednesday 02/25/2012
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MACOMB, Ill. - Although the Western Illinois men’s basketball team (14-13, 8-9) has already secured a spot in The Summit League Tournament, a win Saturday at North Dakota State (17-11, 9-8) would give them a better seed...The Leathernecks and Bison are scheduled to tip at 7:30 inside the Bison Sports Arena in a battle for positioning in The Summit League Tournament.


The Breakdown
Who:
Western Illinois (14-13, 8-9) vs. North Dakota State (17-11, 9-8)
When:
Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Where:
Fargo, N.D.
Arena: 
Bison Sports Arena (5,830)
Live Stats:
HERE
Live Video:
HERE

Radio
Leatherneck Sports Network (88.3 FM)
Radio Talent: Beau Spencer (play-by-play) & Adam Studzinski (color)
Listen for free HERE

A LOOK AT NORTH DAKOTA STATE: The North Dakota State Bison, a fellow member of the Summit League, enters Saturday night’s game with a 17-11 overall record, and a 9-8 league mark...In their most recent action, Alex Young scored a game-high 21 points and IUPUI never trailed in a 74-68 win over North Dakota State in Summit League men’s basketball Thursday, Feb. 23, before a crowd of 2,513 at the Bison Sports Arena...NDSU has three players that average double figures in Taylor Braun (15.8), Lawrence Alexander (13.0), and Marshall Bjorkland (11.8)...Bjorklund also leads the team with an impressive field goal percentage, having shot 67.2 percent from the floor...Braun leads the team in rebounds per game with an 6.7 average...As a team, North Dakota State has outscored its opponents, 74.1-68.1 this season...The Bison have shot 49.2 percent from the floor so far this season, 37.4 percent from behind the arch, and 72.4 percent from the stripe...North Dakota State is coached by Saul Phillips (Wisconsin-Platteville ‘96) who is in his fifth season at the helm.

WHAT’S IN A WESTERN WIN?: A win would mark the team’s 1,199th victory in program history...A win would mark head coach Jim Molinari’s 44th victory at Western, and his 267th career victory...A win would be Western Illinois’ win would clinch a 5th-seed or better in The Summit League tournament...A win would mark Western’s fourth-ever against North Dakota State.

SUMMIT LEAGUE SEEDING SCENARIOS: With a win Saturday and a Southern Utah loss, the Leathernecks would earn the 4th-seed in the tournament...With a win Saturday and a Southern Utah win, the Leathernecks would secure the 5th-seed in the tournament...With a loss and an IUPUI loss, the Leathernecks would hold the 6th-seed in the tournament...With a loss and an IUPUI win, the Leathernecks would finish 7th in the standings.

1,000 POINTS!: Senior guard Ceola Clark III entered the 2011-12 season with 672 career points, and has tallied a team-high 355 this season, making him the 19th player in Western Illinois program history to have earned 1,000 career points...Clark reached point #1,000 in the Leathernecks’ road game at Oral Roberts on February 11th with 9:01 left in the game, his fifth-straight three-pointer that game Western a 1-point advantage...Clark currently has 1,027 career points.

HOT START: The Leathernecks’ 13-9 start to the 2011-12 season is the best start for the program since the 1998-99 season when that team also started 13-9...The 1998-99 squad finished 16-12 overall and 9-5 in Summit League games...The season prior, 1997-98, the men’s basketball team also started 13-9...The 1997-98 team finished 16-11 overall and 11-5 in league games.

SUMMIT LEAGUE WINS: This year’s eight conference victories (8-9) are the most since the 1998-99 season, sitting one short of that team’s  league victory total of nine (9-5) with one Summit League contest left this season.

COACH MO’ AT WESTERN: This year’s 14 wins marks head coach Jim Molinari’s season-high while coaching the Leathernecks, one more than the 2009-10 squad that finished 13-17...The 14 wins is also the most earned by a team since the 1998-99 season that finished 16-12.

POINTS ALLOWED:
Western is allowing only 60.4 points per game this season, in striking distance of the Western Illinois single-season record of 60.1 that was set in 2009-10 season.

DEFENSE IS ALWAYS KEY: Western’s 60.4 points per game allowed ranks 32th in the nation in the NCAA’s latest release of statistics, and first in The Summit League...The Leathernecks are allowing opponents to score only 60.8 points per game in Summit League contests which also ranks first in the Summit League.

HANDLE WITH CARE: In the NCAA’s most recent release of stats, Western ranks 21st in the nation in turnovers per game, averaging just 11.2...In 13 of their games this season they have committed 10 or less turnovers.
 
MORE NATIONAL RANKINGS: The Leathernecks rank in the top-100 of five other categories, which include: 22nd in personal fouls per game (15.6), 32nd in three-point field goal percentage (38.0), 57th in turnover margin (2.1), 60th in assist/turnover ratio (1.12), and 90th in field goal percentage (45.4).

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