IUPUI (6-24) at Western Illinois (9-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Western Hall (5,139) -- Macomb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: IUPUI 5-10, WIU 6-5. Away Record: IUPUI 1-12, WIU 1-13. Neutral Record: IUPUI 0-2, WIU 2-1. Conference Record: IUPUI 1-12, WIU 3-10. Series Record: Western Illinois leads, 29-11.
GAME NOTES: The bottom two teams in the Summit League standings will close out their respective regular-season schedules against one another tonight, as the Western Illinois Leathernecks host the IUPUI Jaguars at Western Hall.
IUPUI enters the contest having lost 12 of its last 13 games, including Thursday's 88-66 setback at Omaha. The Jaguars have notched only one victory in 15 tries outside of Indianapolis this season.
Meanwhile, Western Illinois went winless in seven games during the month of February. The Leathernecks hosted IPFW on Thursday and were dealt a 65-54 setback.
WIU has won the last four head-to-head meetings and owns a 29-11 advantage in the all-time series with IUPUI. The Leathernecks claimed a 69-54 road victory when the teams met on Jan. 30.
IUPUI allowed Omaha to take over Thursday's game thanks to a 17-0 second-half run. Sloppy ballhandling was the main culprit, as the Jaguars committed a season-high 21 turnovers (13 off Omaha steals), which led to a key 34-12 scoring advantage for the Mavericks. Ian Chiles paced IUPUI with 20 points in 24 minutes off the bench, marking his ninth 20-point game of the season. Donovan Gibbs posted 14 points and six rebounds, while Marcellus Barksdale finished with eight points, 10 rebounds, five assists and six turnovers.
On the season, Chiles leads the team in scoring with 15.4 ppg, followed by Mitch Patton with 12.4 ppg and Khufu Najee with 10.0 ppg. Thursday's mistake- laden performance was not the norm for a Jaguars team that is committing an average of just 11.1 turnovers per game. Still, they have consistently lacked in the scoring department (-7.1) and are shooting just 30.7 percent from the perimeter as a team.
Freshman guard Garret Covington paces Western Illinois in scoring with 14.4 ppg to go along with 4.7 rebounds. He also leads the team with 63 3-pointers (.373). However, no other Leathernecks player is averaging double figures, although Adam Link is shooting a solid 60.2 percent from the floor while averaging 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds.
WIU has been held to 56 or fewer points in four of its last five contests. The offensive woes continued into Thursday's game against IPFW, as the Leathernecks shot just 38.6 percent from the floor and were outrebounded by a 36-27 margin. IPFW grabbed the momentum, and the lead, with an 11-0 second- half spurt. Jabari Sandifer finished with a team-high 14 points in the loss, while Covington added 13 points and Link finished with 10 points and six boards.
Although points may be at a premium in this game, one of these teams will get to close out its schedule with a victory. Give a slight edge to the Leathernecks, considering IUPUI's struggles on the road this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Illinois 59, IUPUI 55
03/01 11:49:35 ET