CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — The Western Illinois University men’s basketball team made a late free throw to clinch the win 70-63 at SEMO on Saturday evening. Western pulled through a close game against the Redhawks, making their record 4-4. This victory marks the first road win for the Leathernecks since Nov. 22, 2017, at Southern Illinois.
Western is coming off from an 83-58 victory over SIUE last Wednesday.
“I give Western a lot of credit,” Cougars head coach Jon Harris said. “We knew they were a good team coming in. They have had a pretty challenging schedule.”
The Leathernecks came out confident in getting another win.
“We had tough losses at Eastern Illinois and UT Martin,” head coach Billy Wright said. “All of the credit goes to our kids. They still had to go out there and do it. We had poise under pressure, took care of the ball and got defensive stops. That’s what we need to be great at when it’s winning time. Our second unit in the second half did a tremendous job of coming in and extending the lead. I really challenged them at halftime and they gave us a lift off the bench then the started came back in to close the game.”
Kobe Webster knocked down a mid-range jumper at the 14:39 mark of the first half to build a 17-5 lead. The Redhawks entered on a 14-0 run over the next seven minutes, topped off with a Sage Tolbert layup for a score of 19-17.
Western Illinois settled back into a 25-21 advantage on a right-side jumper by Issac Johnson with under four minutes left in the first half. Alex Caldwell secured the game at 27 for the Redhawks with a wing triple for halftime. Skler Hogan registered a career-high 18 points and Tolbert recorded a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds for Southeast Missouri.
Both teams threw down baskets until hallway through the second half when freshman, Ben Pyle drilled back-to-back three pointers as the Leathernecks led 52-45. SEMO fought to cut the deficit to 57-52 with 2:29 to go, but Johnson responded with a right-wing trifecta.
Webster drove in for a layup with one-minute left in the game for a double-digit lead and after missing his first attempt; Pyle clenched the game with six consecutive free throws. The Leathernecks sunk eight threes and finished 14-of-17 from the charity stripe.
Pyle records his first collegiate double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Johnson scored 17 points with seven rebounds while Webster added 16 points against SEMO.
The Leathernecks travel to the ‘Sunshine State’ of Florida for a match against Stetson University on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
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