By JOHN BOHNENKAMP
Rob Jeter was smiling as he got ready to deliver the punchline.
The Western Illinois University men’s basketball coach was holding the box score from the Leathernecks’ 92-80 win over North Dakota on Monday night, having finished scanning the statistic line for guard Trenton Massner.
“He had five turnovers,” Jeter said, laughing at the absurdity of the number next to all of the rest on Massner’s line.
Massner finished with 46 points, a new program record, one of the two best performances in NCAA Division I play this season.
Massner was 16-of-21 from the field, including 9-of-12 in 3-pointers, and was 5-of-5 in free throws. He added five assists and two rebounds, and played all but the final 53 seconds of the game, when he was taken out to get an ovation from the crowd for his night.
“It’s just good to see guys having fun and smiling,” Jeter said of Massner’s night. “Give him a little curtain call, because he deserves it.”
All of the numbers have a story to tell:
• Massner matched the 46 points scored by Marcus Tsohanis of Long Beach State in last Saturday’s game against San Diego. Only 17 Division I players have scored 40 or more points in the game this season.
• The 46 points were two more than the previous mark, set by Dan Braun in a game against Central Missouri State on February 7, 1970. The only other Western Illinois men’s player to be in the 40-point club was Kobe Webster, who had 40 in the February 22, 2020 game against Omaha.
The 40-point club at Western Illinois also includes women’s players Grace Gilmore (46 vs. Omaha on February 6, 2021) and Michelle Maher (41 points vs. North Dakota State on February 25, 2016).
• The 46 points tied for seventh on the Summit League’s all-time list of single-game performances.
The previous high in the conference this season was Max Abmas’ 37-point game against the Leathernecks on January 12. Oral Roberts and Western Illinois play at Western Hall on February 11.
• The 16 field goals were one off the program record set by Braun in that game against Central Missouri State. The number ranks fifth among single-game performances in Division I play this season.
• The nine 3-pointers tied a program record set by Colton Sandage (vs. Oral Roberts on February 27, 2021) and Quentin Mitchell (vs. Eastern Illinois in the 2001-02 season).
Photo: Western Illinois’ Trenton Massner drives by Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon in a game last season. (Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)