Western Illinois (3-12, 1-7) vs. Nebraska Omaha (2-14, 0-6)
Baxter Arena, Omaha, Nebraska; Friday, 8 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: Nebraska Omaha looks for its ninth straight win in the head-to-head series over Western Illinois. In its last eight wins against the Leathernecks, Nebraska Omaha has won by an average of 11 points. Western Illinois’ last win in the series came on Feb. 3, 2016, an 83-76 victory.
STEPPING UP: Will Carius and Tamell Pearson have led the Leathernecks. Carius has averaged 13.9 points and 4.9 rebounds while Pearson has recorded 12.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The Mavericks have been led by Matt Pile and Marlon Ruffin. Pile has averaged 10.3 points and 7.8 rebounds while Ruffin has put up 12.5 points per game.
RAMPING IT UP: The Mavericks have scored 74.2 points per game against Summit League opponents thus far, an improvement from the 61.7 per game they managed in non-conference play.CLUTCH CARIUS: Carius has connected on 43 percent of the 86 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 13 of 21 over the last three games. He’s also made 72.2 percent of his free throws this season.
YET TO WIN: The Leathernecks are 0-10 when they score 77 points or fewer and 3-2 when they exceed 77 points. The Mavericks are 0-13 when allowing 70 or more points and 2-1 when holding opponents below 70.
ASSIST DISTRIBUTION: The Leathernecks have recently used assists to create baskets more often than the Mavericks. Nebraska Omaha has an assist on 24 of 83 field goals (28.9 percent) across its past three games while Western Illinois has assists on 35 of 83 field goals (42.2 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: Western Illinois has committed a turnover on just 16.2 percent of its possessions this season, which is the second-lowest percentage among all Summit League teams. The Leathernecks have turned the ball over only 11.7 times per game this season and just 9.3 times per game against conference opponents.
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