Western Illinois shoots 57 percent from field, tops Lindenwood to stay in second place in OVC

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ST. CHARLES, Mo. – With the defense taking the majority of the headlines this season, it was the offense’s turn Thursday as the Western Illinois men’s basketball team topped Lindenwood 79-71 to improve to 14-8 overall and 7-2 in Ohio Valley Conference play, good enough for second place.

The Leathernecks also improved to 5-1 on the road in the OVC.

Western Illinois made 28 of 49 shots (57.1 percent) from the field and 11 of 16 from 3-point range (68.8 percent). The 79 points are the most WIU has scored since dropping 92 on Eureka on Dec. 18.

The Leathernecks scored a first-half high 48 points to lead 48-38 at the break. Western Illinois was on fire in the opening half, going 18-for-26 from the field (69.2 percent) and 8-for-10 (80 percent) from three.

JJ Kalakon had a career-high 25 points and Ryan Myers added 21. Jesiah West scored 12 points and blocked four shots in the game’s final four minutes.

The Leathernecks opened the second half by pushing the lead to 14 in the first three minutes. WIU never allowed the Lions to get within seven points until the final 1:11. Lindenwood cut the deficit to three in the final 40 seconds at 74-71. Western Illinois closed the game with five straight free throws.

The game is the 16th straight contest WIU has held an opponent to 71 points or fewer. The Leathernecks are 12-4 in those games.

Quincy High School graduate Jeremiah Talton played 10 minutes for Lindenwood and did not score, missing two shots.

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