MACOMB, Ill.—Ceola Clark made six second-half three-pointers and scored 27 points to lead Western Illinois to a 61-59 win against South Dakota Saturday night at Western Hall. The win clinches a share of the Summit League regular season title for the Leathernecks, their first Division I conference title.
Western Illinois (21-7, 13-3 Summit) and South Dakota (10-19, 5-11) will meet in the first round of the Summit League Tournament at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Leathernecks, despite tying South Dakota State for the League crown, are the No. 2 seed. South Dakota is the No. 7 seed.
Trevor Gruis and Juevol Myles had 19 points each to lead the Coyotes who were going for their third straight road win. Six of South Dakota's 11 league losses came by five points or less.
The ‘Yotes had the ball down 60-59 with 17 seconds left. Myles' missed a shot from the high post on the right side with two seconds left. Remy Roberts-Burnett rebounded for Western and was fouled. He made the first free throw and missed the second. Myles' desperation heave at the buzzer was off the mark.
It was Myles who scored 12 points and made five consecutive shots to turn a 57-49 deficit with 1:30 remaining into a one-point game and a chance to win it. He scored 14 second-half points and was 3 of 6 from three-point range.
The Coyotes scored the game's first 11 points and led 15-4 nine minutes into the contest. Western Illinois closed the half on a 19-8 rally and the game was tied at 23-23 at the break.
Clark had four points and was 0 of 3 from three-point range in the first half. He made 6 of 7 to begin the second to put Western in front 46-40 with 7:48 to go. He finished 10 of 15 from the field and had five rebounds, four assists and three steals. It was Clark who hit a runner in the lane to beat South Dakota 73-71 in Vermillion in late November.
Western big man Terell Parks missed his second straight game due to injury and Gruis took advantage inside. He was 6 of 7 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. He drew three fouls in the first half on Parks' backup, Michael Ochereobia, who fouled out late in the second and totaled four points.
Both teams shot 43 percent from the field. Western's nine 3-pointers to South Dakota's six was the difference. USD outrebounded Western 34-27 and outscored the Leathernecks 11-8 at the free-throw line.