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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Western Hall (5,139) -- Macomb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: W&M 4-2, WIU 4-0. Away Record: W&M 3-3, WIU 0-7. Neutral Record: W&M 0-0, WIU 2-1. Conference Record: W&M 0-0, WIU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: William & Mary and Western Illinois will both wrap up their non- conference schedules on Saturday night, as the Tribe visit the Leathernecks at Western Hall for the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
The Tribe have won three of their last four games, the last coming in a 74-68 final against in-state rival Old Dominion on Wednesday. Marcus Thornton poured in 26 points, Julian Boatner scored 14 and Omar Prewitt chipped in 11 off the bench. William & Mary made 11 3-pointers in the contest and are averaging 9.6 makes from behind the arc over the last seven games.
Shooting efficiency has been the Tribe's calling card so far, as they are hitting 45.9 percent from the field and a respectable 36.5 percent from long distance. Thornton, Boatner and Prewitt are all a threat to pull up out on the perimeter. Thornton is averaging a robust 19 ppg and also leads the team in assists, although the entire roster does a good job distributing the ball. Prewitt checks in with 13.8 ppg, while Tim Rusthoven, who is 13 points shy of 1,000 for his career, is right behind at 13.1 ppg while also pulling down 5.5 rpg.
Whereas William & Mary has gotten by on its offense, Western Illinois has relied on stingy defense, as opponents are scoring just 57.7 ppg against the Leathernecks, who are a perfect 4-0 at home this season.
The Leathernecks played in the Sun Bowl Classic in El Paso last weekend and salvaged the trip by pulling out a 64-62 overtime win over Alcorn State, which missed its final seven shots in the extra session. WIU made 3-of-4 foul shots in crunch time and survived LeAntwan Luckett's potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to snap a two-game skid.
Michael Ochereobia was one of four Western Illinois players who scored in double figures, totaling 13 points. Mohamed Conde netted 12 points off the bench, Mike Miklusak added 11 points and seven rebounds and Jabari Sandifer tacked on 10 points before fouling out. Leading scorer Garret Covington chipped in with nine points and is contributing 12.0 ppg on the season. Adam Link is the only other player scoring in double figures (10.9 ppg).
Western Illinois has gone nearly a month without playing a home game, last playing there on Dec. 7. Saturday's challenge is much stiffer than the previous visitors, and it will be tough for the Leathernecks to keep up with W&M's balanced scoring attack.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: William & Mary 70, Western Illinois 62
01/04 10:38:30 ET
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