College Basketball

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Western Illinois (9-16) at Denver (13-12)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 9 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Magness Arena (7,200) -- Denver, Colorado. Television: None. Home Record: WIU 6-4, Denver 7-4. Away Record: WIU 1-11, Denver 5-6. Neutral Record: WIU 2-1, Denver 1-2. Conference Record: WIU 3-7, Denver 6-4. Series Record: Denver leads, 2-1.

GAME NOTES: The Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks travel west to take on the Denver Pioneers in a Summit League bout at Magness Arena on Thursday night.

After falling to South Dakota State last Saturday, 62-50, Western Illinois has now dropped its last four contests. The Fighting Leathernecks are second only to IUPUI for worst record in the Summit League.

Denver comes into this game having won three of its last four and sits in fourth place in the Summit. The Pioneers downed IUPU-Fort Wayne last Saturday on the road, 73-62.

This is just the fourth meeting all-time between these programs, and Denver has the edge, 2-1. WIU won the initial meeting (84-78) on its home court on Jan. 30, 1978. The Pioneers won a neutral-site matchup (75-48) in Ames, Iowa on Dec. 7, 2002. Denver won on the road in the first meeting this season, 67-55, on Jan. 25.

Mike Miklusak and Garret Covington both scored 12 points for the Leathernecks in the recent loss to South Dakota State. Jabari Sandifer contributed 11 points in the losing effort. Despite shooting just 38.1 percent in the first half, the Leathernecks claimed a narrow 24-23 lead at halftime. Western Illinois failed to hold the lead in the second, however, as it shot a mere 26.9 percent, recording a scant seven field goals. The Jackrabbits improved to 39.1 percent and hit 21-of-31 at the free-throw line to put the game out of reach.

Covington leads the Leathernecks in scoring this season with 14.2 ppg on 41.2 percent shooting from the floor. He is the only WIU player to average double figures. Michael Ochereobia leads the squad in rebounding at 5.1 rpg, and Sandifer tops the team with 76 total assists on the year. Despite scoring a league-worst 61.4 ppg, the Leathernecks are allowing an identical 61.4 ppg, which is good for tops in the Summit.

Bryant Rucker and Brett Olson each tallied 18 points to lead the Pioneers past Fort Wayne the last time out. Olson grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists, while Chris Udofia chipped in with 16 points and a team-high five assists in the win. Denver went into the intermission with a 35-25 lead after connecting on 56.5 percent of its field goal tries, while IPFW hit on 50 percent of its shots. Neither team let up in the second period. The Pioneers hit the mark on 52.4 percent of their shots in the frame, while the Mastodons once again connected on 50 percent of their attempts.

Olson has proven to be the most consistent scorer for Denver this year, averaging 15.2 ppg on 48 percent shooting from the floor. Udofia checks in with 12.7 ppg, and is tops on the squad in several categories, with 97 assists, 41 steals and 62 blocked shots. Cam Griffin leads the Pioneers in rebounding at 6.0 rpg. On the season, Denver is scoring 65.6 ppg and giving up a mere 63.1 ppg, second only to the Leathernecks in the conference.

These teams are evenly matchup statistically -- both offensively challenged but both with stout defense. Given this balance, the hotter team has been the Pioneers of late, so expect them to keep up their recent string of success.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Denver 66, Western Illinois 63

02/20 10:17:51 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
1st OT
GT 77
NCSU 76
 
4:00pm Today
LOU
UNC
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
DUKE
7:00pm Tonight
ETST
NCCU
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
IND
SAC
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
TOR
7:30pm Tonight
DET
HOU
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
CLE
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
POR
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
9:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
PHO
Final
TENN 71
AUB 63
 
Final
CLEM 64
BC 49
 
Final
STJOE 75
DAVID 70
 
1st OT
GT 77
NCSU 76
 
Final
PITT 76
ND 72
 
Final
STJ 75
PROV 66
 
Final
UNH 63
USB 48
 
Final
WVU 77
TTU 58
 
Final
TEMPL 55
TULA 37
 
Final
EMICH 69
WMICH 63
 
Final
IOWA 63
WISC 74
Final
SHU 90
XAV 82
 
2nd
UF 37
ARK 34
 
2nd
STET 42
LIP 48
 
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ILL 32
PSU 28
 
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TULSA 43
SFLA 44
 
2nd
INDST 37
BRAD 37
 
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MAINE 15
GTDNS 18
 
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LEH 16
BU 8
 
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MARQ 14
BUT 16
 
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DEL 6
COC 12
 
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CREI 10
GEOR 12
 
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CLST 16
UWGB 8
 
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NEOM 14
MAST 14
 
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LOYC 9
ILLST 11
 
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KU 16
KYST 5
 
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JVU 18
KNST 8
 
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MSST 13
LSU 8
 
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SHU 12
MNTER 14
 
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VCU 11
RICH 9
 
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ISU 16
TCU 17
 
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BING 16
MLOWELL 9
 
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HART 10
VERM 12
 
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DEP 8
VILL 6
 
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WAKE 4
VT 8
 
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TENT
 
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EVAN
 
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RUTG
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BST
 
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UGA
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HOW
MRGST
 
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LOU
UNC
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MISS
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ALCOR
SOUTH
 
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NIOWA
WICHS
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JMU
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WINT
 
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SIUE
 
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CAMP
 
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EKENT
 
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OHIO
 
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TEXAM
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DET
 
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UNCG
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CSOU
 
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ELON
 
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LAS
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LONG
 
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NCCU
 
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NO
 
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STAN
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NARZ
 
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SCU
 
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WEBER
 
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AFA
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CPSL
 
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MEM
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SEAT
 
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UCSB
 
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MONT
 
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MNTST
 
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UCLA
COL
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UMKC
 
1st
DET 1
NYI 0
 
3:00pm Today
OTT
ARI
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
WIN
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
FLA
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
LOS
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
TOR
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CHI