CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Despite scoring 12 of the game's final 13 points, SIUE men's basketball dropped a 79-76 decision at Southeast Missouri State Thursday at the Show Me Center.
The Cougars fell to 0-5 in Ohio Valley Conference play and 5-15 overall. Southeast Missouri improved to 3-3 in the OVC and 8-13 overall.
"We played a decent game," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "We had a 5-6 minute-stretch to start the second half where we let them get a run and a little momentum. That was the difference in the game."
Southeast Missouri freshman Denzel Mahoney knocked down a pair of free throws with 27 seconds to play to give the Redhawks their largest lead of the game at 78-64.
Fueled by a full-court press and two SEMO turnovers, the Cougars ripped off a 12-1 run over the final 27 seconds of the game to pull within three points.
"We worked on it a lot leading up to the game," Harris said of the Cougars' pressure. "The way the game went we just didn't really play it in the early part of the game. That may be something we look at doing more."
SIUE never trailed in the first half, built as much as a six-point lead and held a 34-31 advantage at halftime thanks in part to shooting 45.8 percent (11-24) from the field in the half.
The Cougars' fortunes reversed after halftime, when they shot just 35.9 percent (14-39) from the field.
SEMO enjoyed the opposite. The Redhawks were just 8-21 (38.1 percent) from the field in the first half and then connected on 16 of 26 (61.5 percent) of their shots in the second.
"We quit defending," Harris said. "Bottom line is we didn't get enough stops to win the game."
Jalen Henry knocked down a 15-foot jumper to open the second half and give SIUE a 36-31 advantage. The Redhakws used a 12-0 run over the next 3:23 to take control. SEMO never trailed again in the game.
"For me offense is not the issue, outside of the turnovers which are a major issue," Harris said. "76 points is enough points to win the game. You have to find a way to get stops."
SEMO took advantage of 19 SIUE turnovers to the tune of 23 points. The Cougars turned the ball over 13 in the first half which led to 14 points for the Redhawks.
"We talked about it at halftime," Harris added. "We had to quit turning the ball over. We were up three, we probably could have been up eight or nine."
The Cougars outrebounded Southeast Missouri 44-28 and got 44 points from its bench, led by a career-highs in scoring from Tre Harris, who scored a game-high 25 points and Brandon Jackson who added 12 points.
"Brandon did some really good things," Harris said. "He played some big minutes. Tre is playing some really good minutes for us right now.
Harris was 7-15 from three-point range. He and Jackson each grabbed eight rebounds. Harris added three of SIUE's season-high 15 assists. Keenan Simmons scored 11 points and Henry pitched in 10.
Mahoney led SEMO with 20 points. Daniel Simmons scored 14 points.
SIUE continues its road trip with a Saturday contest at UT Martin. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
"UT Martin is a good team," Harris said. "It's not an easy place to go and get a win so we'll have to be better defensively than we were today."