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Slow start dooms SIUE against SIUC

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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE connected on 78.9 percent of its shots in the second half Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a slow start. The Cougars fell to SIU Carbondale 79-67 in front of 3,508 in nonconference men’s basketball at the Vadalabene Center.

SIUE_SIUC“Our guys had some jitters,” SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. “Guys that normally make shots didn’t make shots. We didn’t knock down wide-open looks.”

SIUE, which had nine days off prior to the game, has dropped four straight and fell to 1-4 for the season.

“Coming back from Portland and Thanksgiving break, I thought we needed the break to get some guys healthy and work on some things,” Forrester said. “I’m not a guy who is going make excuses. We just didn’t come ready.”

While the Cougars managed just 6 of 26 first half shots, the Salukis were 13-23 (56.5 percent) over the first 20 minutes. SIU Carbondale (4-3) used a 14-2 run over the final 4:04 of the first half to take a 45-22 lead at the break. Saluki guard Anthony Beane scored 20 of his game-high 28 points in the first half.

Beane finished 11 of 18 from the field, was 2 for 4 from 3-point range, and 4 for 4 at the free throw line.

“He was unbelievable,” Forrester said of Beane. “All five of our guys guarded him at one point, and he scored on all five. He did a great job driving to the basket. He’s so crafty and knows how to score.”

The Salukis had their largest lead of the night with 13:26 to play thanks to a 3-point basket by Chaz Glotta. Glotta finished the game with 13 points and was 3 for 5 from long range.

The Cougars were 15 for 19 from the field in the second half, including knocking down 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.

“Our guys did a better job attacking offensively and did a better job defensively,” Forrester added. “The encouraging thing is how they came out in the second half, which was much better than the first half.”

Kris Davis led SIUE’s offensive turnaround in the second half. Davis scored 10 of his team-best 18 points in the second half on 3-of-3 shooting.  He drained his only 3-point attempt of the half with 1:39 remaining in the game to cut the lead to 78-63.

Donivine Stewart finished with 17 points, including seven in the second half.

“We have to feed off those two guys because of our style of play,” Forrester said of the two guards. “They can put the ball on the floor, score, and create for others.”

Keenan Simmons scored all eight of his points in the second period and was 3 for 3 from the field. C.J. Carr finished with six points, all in the second half. Carr drained a 3-pointer with 13:07 for his only made field goal. He was 3 for 4 at the free throw line.

For the game, the Cougars outshot the Salukis. SIUE was 21-45 (46.7 percent) while SIU Carbondale was 24-52 (46.2 percent) for the night. SIUE finished with 10 blocks in the game, which is one shy of the single-game school record. It is the second time this season the Cougars have finished with 10 blocks. Keaton Jackson finished with four blocks. Michael Chandler had three blocks and Simmons had two.

The Cougars next travel to Central Michigan for a Saturday game. Tipoff is set for noon CT.

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