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Cougars Down Stetson for First Win

Jalen Henry
Jalen Henry

DELAND, Fla. – Behind a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds from senior Jalen Henry, SIUE men's basketball earned its first win of the year Saturday downing Stetson 80-76 at the Edmunds Center.

"It's tough to win on the road," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "Our guys did a great job. They stayed the course. We had some stretches where (Stetson) made some runs. Bottom line is, we found a way to get some stops late and we got the win."

The Cougars improved to 1-2 with the win. Stetson dropped to 2-2.

Despite leading for the majority of the game, SIUE found itself trailing 74-73 with 3:00 left. SIUE used six free throws over those final 3:00 minutes to grind out the win.

"I can't say enough about the mettle our guys showed," Harris added.

Henry turned his third career double-double. It is the second straight year he has collected a double-double against Stetson. It is his second 20-point effort this season and his 13 rebounds are a career high. Henry scored five of SIUE's final seven points.

"He is playing like a senior and that's what we need him to do," Harris said. "It doesn't have to be 20 and 10 every night. The rebounding is something he's in control of every night. He's doing a tremendous job hitting bodies and chasing rebounds."

Junior Daniel Kinchen scored a game-high 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He knocked down six of nine three-point attempts. The 23 points are a career high and marks the second consecutive 20-point effort.

"Dan is obviously doing some really good things," Harris said.

The Cougars connected on 45.8 percent of their shots, for a season high. SIUE was 27 of 59 from the field for the game and 16-33 (48.5 percent) in the first half where they led by as many as 12 on two different occasions. For the second time this season, SIUE knocked down 10 three-pointers, finishing 10-22.

"Ball movement was the key," Harris said. "We did some good things on the offensive end, just passing and moving and we did a better job screening. It's a credit to the guys, trusting their teammates and just playing together."

SIUE collected 15 assists compared to just 12 turnovers.

"For this team, with the pace we want to play, 12 is not necessarily bad," Harris said. "If we can stay between 10 and 12 that's a pretty good number for us."

Stetson was led by Divine Myles who scored 18 points. He scored eight at the free throw line. Angel Rivera scored 17 points and was 13-15 at the free throw line.

Stetson was 31-42 from the free throw line as a team. The Cougars were 16-25.

"We really executed our game plan pretty well," Harris said. "We committed some fouls, but outside of the free throws, we did a pretty good job on defense."

SIUE outrebounded Stetson 40-39. The Cougars have outrebounded each of their first three opponents and have grabbed exactly 40 rebounds in each game.

"That has to be who we are," Harris said of the team's rebounding effort. "That is an 'all the time' thing. We have to find a way to be that team every night."

The Cougars were bolstered by a loud group of alumni and supporters who took in the game following a pre-game reception.

"The support was unbelievable," Harris said. "We can't thank them enough. Our guys heard them. That means a lot."

SIUE returns home to face Western Illinois Wednesday at Vadalabene Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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