MACOMB, IL – As has been the case this season, the Western Illinois men fell behind early, then made a furious rally in the end. But on Thursday night, the comeback was not enough as the Leathernecks fell to Omaha 78-74 on Thursday night in Macomb. The loss drops Western Illinois to 8-7 overall, 1-3 in the Summit League.
Western Illinois trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half, before coming back to cut the deficit to four a handful of times, but the Leathernecks were never able to get over the hump as Omaha held on to improve to 6-10 overall and 2-2 in the Summit.
Shooting was the story, especially in the first half as the Mavericks went 16-25 (64 percent) from the field in the opening 20 minutes while the Leathernecks were 8-28 (28.6 percent), allowing Omaha to jump out to a 44-32 advantage at the break. Omaha kept it up in the second half, shooting 29-51 overall (56.9 percent) from the field while Western Illinois went 19-56 (33.9) for the game.
Omaha took a 65-47 lead with nine minutes, 57 second to go in the game, but Western Illinois began to slowly chip away, going on a 20-6 run to cut the deficit to 71-67 with 3:37 to go after an Elijah Farr three-pointer but Western Illinois would get not closer, cutting the deficit to four once again, 74-70 after a Trenton Massner (19 points) with :56 left but the Mavs would hold on for the win.
Vuk Stevanic led the way for the Leathernecks, scoring a career-high 21 points. Massner added 19 while Alec Rosner and Farr each chipped in with 10 points apiece. Jesiah West would add nine. Frankie Fidler led Omaha, scoring 21 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.
Western Illinois is next in action on Saturday, hosting Denver at 2 p.m.
Copy provided by Western Athletic Communications