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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
Final
UWGB 66
ECU 49
3rd
CHA 63
LAC 76
 
3rd
CHA 63
LAC 76
 
3rd
CLE 76
ORL 53
 
3rd
PHI 75
POR 82
 
Half
TOR 54
PHO 48
 
2nd
HOU 29
NYK 28
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
IND
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
CHI
Final
UWGB 66
ECU 49
Final
WEBER 59
NEV 56
Final
FRES 52
EVAN 58
Final
KYST 88
PURD 79
Final
LSU 61
CLEM 64
Final
ALCOR 95
DILL 73
 
Final
CHIST 46
UGST 69
Final
DET 69
MDES 55
 
Final
ARZ 72
MIZZ 53
 
Final
INDST 61
PEAY 57
 
Final
FLGC 58
MAR 43
 
Final
LALAF 52
UWMIL 56
 
Final
ODU 58
GWEBB 46
 
2nd
MD 65
ARST 62
 
2nd
TOL 67
BUCK 40
 
2nd
JMU 65
COL 62
 
2nd
WINT 39
ETST 45
 
2nd
GSOUT 62
FIU 53
 
2nd
BST 77
GRAM 40
 
2nd
APP 59
HAMP 49
 
2nd
MAST 80
JVU 55
 
2nd
XAV 78
MURST 50
 
2nd
WAKE 58
NICST 24
 
2nd
MSU 56
SCU 27
 
2nd
LOU 71
SAV 14
 
2nd
TENT 69
SELA 58
 
2nd
VCU 41
VILL 54
 
2nd
OU 59
WCU 59
 
2nd
IND 41
EWASH 37
 
1st
ILL 28
BRO 21
 
1st
MSST 23
CLAYST 15
 
1st
BEL 25
LIP 23
 
1st
TCU 40
MVSU 15
 
1st
IOWA 32
PEPP 24
 
1st
MEM 31
PVU 21
 
1st
KU 38
RIDE 15
 
1st
BAY 19
STEPH 18
 
1st
INCWORD 37
A 28
 
1st
USF 10
HAW 8
 
1st
OKST 3
ORST 3
 
9:00pm Tonight
WYO
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
YALE
 
9:00pm Tonight
CHAM
PITT
9:00pm Tonight
ILLST
SHU
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
STET
 
9:30pm Tonight
ISU
ALA
9:30pm Tonight
SDKST
CHADRON
 
9:30pm Tonight
NCOL
CCHR
 
9:30pm Tonight
OREG
MICH
10:00pm Tonight
SDU
WMICH
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
SIUE
11:00pm Tonight
AUB
TULSA
11:30pm Tonight
SDST
BYU
2nd Intermission
NYI 0
PHI 0
 
2nd
BOS 2
PIT 2
 
2nd
FLA 1
MIN 2
 
2nd
DET 1
OTT 1
 
Half
BUF 14
NYJ 3
 
1st
NOS 0
BAL 0