MACOMB – Western Illinois Men’s Basketball team came within a point short in a loss on the road against the Kansas City Roo’s on Saturday, Nov 30 at 7 p.m.
Sophomore Ben Pyle was extravagant as he carried the Leathernecks throughout the game scoring a career-high of 21 points. Pyle made the biggest impact during the 2nd half as he scored 16 out of the Leathernecks 40 points. The largest deficit of the game was 18 as the Leathernecks had to battle to shorten the Roo’s lead.
To start the game, the Leathernecks were a little shaky as they felt the intensity of playing on their opponent’s home court. Kansas City started the game by getting good open look shots which led to a 14-5 lead. The Roo’s maintained their up-tempo offense which gave Kansas City a 27-9 lead minutes later.
After seeing the Roo’s go up 20 points, the Leathernecks then kicked into gear going on a 10-4. The leathernecks were being aggressive as they kept attacking the defense while keeping the score in striking distance. The Leathernecks were able to bring the deficit down 11 points. The score at the end of the first half was 39-27 as the Leathernecks found themselves trailing by 12.
During the start of the 2nd half, the Leathernecks battled their way withing single digits. With 11:49 remaining, Junior Kyle Arrington made a driving layup basket to make the score 49-43. Once Western shortened the gap it became a back and forth game for which the team wanted the win the most. Pyle gave the Leathernecks their first lead, 57-56, on a mid-range jumper in the paint but the battle continued.
Towards the end of the half, the Leathernecks had a chance to regain the lead with a contested jumper from Kobe Webster. This was the biggest shot of the night but Kobe missed the jumper and with 8 seconds remaining, the Leathernecks fouled Kansas City to put them at the free-throw line. The final score of the game was 68-67 as Zion Young ended the game with 15 points, 6 rebounds, C.J Duff added 12 points, and Kobe Webster had 8 points with 3 steals. Western concludes its three-game road swing at Evansville on Wednesday, Dec 4, at 6 p.m.