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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
CAR 1
MIN 3
Final
CHA 103
TOR 94
Final
STL 5
HOU 2
 
Final
BOS 3
MIA 5
 
Final
TAM 2
MIN 1
 
Final
PHI 1
NYY 4
 
Final
ATL 8
WAS 9
 
Final
TOR 5
BAL 4
 
Final
NYM 5
DET 4
Final
SDP 5
CWS 0
 
Final
CHC 2
CIN 5
 
Final
CLE 9
KAN 11
 
Final
MIL 1
LOS 10
 
Final
TEX 3
SFG 12
 
Final
LOS 7
SEA 4
 
Final
ANA 3
COL 0
 
Final
ARI 2
OAK 7
 
Final
NYY 1
PIT 3
 
Final
IND 98
CHI 84
Final
WAS 99
MIA 97
Final
ORL 119
SAC 114
Final
CHA 103
TOR 94
Final
PHI 83
UTA 89
Final
ATL 106
CLE 97
Final
NOP 98
BOS 104
Final
HOU 103
DET 93
Final
MEM 97
LAL 90
Final
BRK 100
PHO 108
Final
SAN 120
DEN 111
2nd
GSW 52
DAL 40
 
Final
MVSU 75
ARKPB 94
 
Final
CSOU 60
LONG 68
 
Final
WICHS 56
SILL 45
Final
RAD 66
WINT 67
 
Final
ILLST 71
EVAN 67
Final
HIGH 71
GWEBB 72
 
Final
UNCG 81
SAMF 76
Final
ELON 74
TOWS 69
Final
KSU 79
AKR 77
 
Final
BUF 77
BGU 75
 
Final
DART 75
BRO 69
 
Final
WMICH 74
CMICH 62
 
Final
PENN 54
CLMB 46
 
Final
PRIN 66
CORN 53
 
Final
OU 69
ILLCH 72
Final
OHIO 95
UMO 65
 
Final
BST 67
NILL 71
 
Final
EMICH 85
TOL 59
 
Final
NIOWA 71
BRAD 46
Final
MURST 80
MORE 77
Final
HARV 52
YALE 62
 
Final
DREX 48
COC 56
Final
CITA 56
FUR 73
Final
CCAR 74
UNCA 57
 
Final
USF 62
PAC 58
Final
BAY 77
TTU 74
Final
INDST 53
LOYC 81
 
Final
CLST 70
DET 53
 
2nd
EKENT 44
BEL 39
 
11:30pm Tonight
SCU
LMU
Final
NJD 2
CLB 3
Final
CAR 1
MIN 3
Final
OTT 3
BUF 2
Final
DET 2
CAL 5
Final
CHI 2
EDM 1
 
2nd Intermission
ANA 0
PIT 3