Western Illinois (4-3) at UMKC (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 5:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Municipal Auditorium (9,827) -- Kansas City, Missouri. Television: KSMO-TV. Home Record: Western Illinois 1-0, UMKC 2-0. Away Record: Western Illinois 0-3, UMKC 0-2. Neutral Record: Western Illinois 2-0, UMKC 1-1. Conference Record: Western Illinois 1-0, UMKC 1-0. Series Record: UMKC leads 26-15.
GAMES NOTES: The Western Illinois Leathernecks and the UMKC Kangaroos will get together for a Summit League bout on Saturday night at Municipal Auditorium.
This is the second game in Western Illinois' conference schedule with the Leathernecks pulling out a dramatic win against South Dakota on Thursday in the conference opener, 73-71. That win pushed the Leathernecks, who have yet to win consecutive games this season, back over .500 at 4-3 overall. This game is the third of a four-contest road trip that will conclude on Wednesday against Eastern Illinois.
The Kangaroos also got a victory in their conference opener on Thursday, although in much easier fashion as they downed IUPUI 79-65. UMKC has also failed to win back-to-back games early on and has an overall record of 3-3. The Kangaroos have won both of their games at home but will be on the road in their next two contests against North Dakota and No. 5 Louisville.
In terms of the all-time series, UMKC has the edge with a 26-15 record against Western Illinois. The pair split the season series last year, with the home team coming out on top each time.
Western Illinois had a seven-point lead with less than a minute remaining against South Dakota but found itself tied 71-71 with seven seconds left after a 3-pointer from Juevol Myles. However Ceola Clark came through in the final seconds with a buzzer beater to lift the Leathernecks to the win. Clark finished the game with 20 points, with none bigger than the two at the end.
The 73 points Western Illinois scored against South Dakota represented a season-high for the Leathernecks, who have not been overly productive offensively. Western Illinois scores only 57.4 points per game, while shooting 44.2 percent from the field. The Leathernecks have been solid on defense, limiting teams to 52.1 points per game and a 39.3 field goal percentage. Clark (12.7 ppg, 3.4 apg) is the only guard in the Leathernecks' forward-heavy starting lineup. Terell Parks (13.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg) is the top scoring option on the team and the top rebounder as well. Don McAvyo (8.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Adam Link (8.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg) also contribute from the frontcourt.
UMKC raced out to a 45-26 lead against IUPUI and then held on in the second half to secure the win. The Kangaroos had almost twice as many field goals in the first half (17-9) as IUPUI and sealed the game by shooting 63.6 percent over the final 20 minutes. UMKC also won the rebound battle (38-26) led by Fred Chatmon who pulled down nine boards to go along with a game-high 20 points and four blocks.
The Kangaroos suffer from a -5.5 scoring differential despite their even record, while putting in 63.5 points per game on 42.4 percent shooting. Ball movement isn't a strength with UMKC handing out only 10.5 assists per game as a team. There is no real established go-to scorer on the roster with Kirk Korver (10.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg) the leading scorer on a team where the offense is spread out. Estan Tyler (9.8 ppg, 4.0 apg) is the only player that has made an impact with passing, while Chatmon (7.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg) has shown the ability at times to dominate on the interior.
UMKC is by no means an offensive force but in comparison to Western Illinois the Kangaroos are a juggernaut. Expect them to defend their home court and string a pair of wins together for the first time this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UMKC 65, Western Illinois 61
12/01 10:38:20 ET