Western Illinois (13-3) at Nebraska Omaha (5-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 12:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ralston Arena (3,500) -- Omaha, Nebraska. Television: None. Home Record: WIU 8-0, Omaha 4-2. Away Record: WIU 3-3, Omaha 0-11. Neutral Record: WIU 2-0, Omaha 1-1. Conference Record: WIU 5-0, Omaha 2-5. Series Record: Western Illinois leads, 5-3.
GAME NOTES: Off to their best start in its Division I history, the Western Illinois Leathernecks go for their 11th straight win on Saturday afternoon when they take on the struggling Nebraska Omaha Mavericks in Summit League action.
There's been no Western Illinois team that has started a season 13-3 or better since the 1957-58 campaign when the Leathernecks started 27-0. Additionally, no Leatherneck team has earned 11 straight wins in the school's D-I era.
Most recently, they slammed Greenville, 95-48, on Wednesday. Terell Parks had 22 points and Ceola Clark III dished out 12 assists. Michael Ochereobia tallied 18 points in the victory.
Parks (13.6 ppg) leads the team in scoring and rebounding (9.3 rpg). Clark (12.1 ppg) is the only other double-digit scorer on a team that averages a mere 61.1 ppg. WIU, though, has been thriving lately thanks to its defense. The Leathernecks are allowing only 50.9 ppg, which is the second-best mark in the country behind only Stephen F. Austin. Clark III sits second in career 3- pointers made at Western Illinois with 214. He is three successful tries away from jumping into first on the school's all-time 3-pointers list (Bill Heisler - 216).
On the other side, the Mavericks have dropped four of their last six games, but they're coming off a 90-79 triumph at home on Thursday over IUPUI. John Karhoff scored 20 to pace Omaha. CJ Carter added 19 points, Justin Simmons finished with 16 points and Alex Phillips chipped in with 15 points. Omaha shot very well from the outset, connecting on 62.3 percent of its field goal tries, though the Mavericks made just 6-of-17 from 3-point range. That shooting percentage was their highest since beginning the transition to Division I.
Omaha, which ranks third among Summit League teams with 7.0 steals per game and third in field goal percentage at .455, is led by Simmons (14.6 ppg) and Karhoff (11.9 ppg) offensively. Their defense is giving up a bulky 82.7 ppg, which ranks them almost at the bottom of Division I.
Judging from the latest surge of the Leathernecks and the struggles of the Mavericks this season, expect WIU to lean on Parks and Clark and push its winning streak to 11 games.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Illinois 66, Nebraska Omaha 57
01/12 10:40:10 ET