Western Illinois was eliminated from The Summit League Tournament after falling to North Dakota State, 55-43, in semifinals Monday night.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The second-seeded Fighting Leathernecks' late comeback effort fell short Monday evening in Sioux Falls as the No. 3 North Dakota State Bison defeated Western 55-43 to advance to Tuesday's Summit League Championship game.

Western Illinois falls to 22-8 overall, while NDSU improves to 24-8.

Similar to Western's first conference tournament game, one Leatherneck finished with more than 10 points in Adam Link who tallied 12 to go along with his team-best eight rebounds and one steal.

Ceola Clark III, who left the game due to an injury, had nine points, two assists, four steals, one rebound and no turnovers. Jack Houpt finished with seven points in the loss, and had two rebounds, an assist and a steal.

North Dakota State was led by TrayVonn Wright and Taylor Braun who led the Bison in points recording 19 and 14, respectively, and each had a team-high seven rebounds.

Western shot 35.7% (15-of-42) from the floor, while the Bison connected on 46.2 percent (18-of-39) from the field. Western had only seven turnovers in the game, and NDSU had 10.

NDSU led nearly all of the first half Monday evening, with the Leathernecks tying the game only once, making it 14-14, midway through the half courtesy of a Houpt three-pointer. The Bison's largest lead of the half was six points early on when they led 14-8.

At the break, Western found trailed by four points, 24-20.

Each team took 20 shots in the first, with Western knocking down only five (25%), and NDSU making eight (40%). The Leathernecks did, however, make 8-of-9 free throws in the period.

Neither team had a fast break point in the first.

Western put a late 9-2 run together and made it a two-point game, 39-37, but the Bison answered with a run of their own, eventually pulling away to their first win over the Leathernecks in the last six meetings between the two teams.

The Fighting Leathernecks will find out if and what postseason tournament they will play in later this week or early next week.




Kyle A. Bradt
Assistant Director of Athletics Media Services
Western Illinois University
cell: (507) 271-9633 | office: (309) 298-1133 | Twitter: @WIUAthletics


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