FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Fort Wayne's Bryson Scott hit seven free throws in the final 2:23 Saturday to help the Mastodons put away an 86-71 win over SIUE at the War Memorial Coliseum.
The loss is the fourth in a row for SIUE, which fell to 1-6. It was the third of four consecutive road games for the Cougars.
Fort Wayne has won three straight and improved to 6-3 with the victory.
The Mastodons shot 54.8 percent from the floor in the first half on their way to a 43-31 advantage at the break.
Scott sank a three-pointer just 18 seconds into the second half to push the lead to 15. He finished with a game-high 31 points in 34 minutes.
Fort Wayne led by 10 (51-41) at the first media timeout of the half with 15:13 left in the game. The lead went to 11 when John Konchar drained one of two free throws following the timeout. From there, SIUE proceeded on a 9-3 run to chisel the lead to 54-50 with 11:03 left.
"The guys responded, which is progress for us," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "They competed harder in the second half. If we can bottle that effort up the next couple of days in practice that will be a huge step forward."
Kionchar scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Mastodons.
The Cougars kept the lead near single digits for most of the second half, thanks in part to shooting 45 percent (15-33) from the field. SIUE also hit six three-pointers in the second period.
"We'll obviously need to clean up a few of our rotations and the communication errors that we had," Harris added.
Jaylen McCoy scored two of his team-best 16 points on a long jumper which made it 77-69 with 3:11 to play. Outside of Scott's free throws, Fort Wayne got only a layup from Kochar from that point forward. The Cougars settled for the same from Keenan Simmons.
McCoy, who scored 13 points in his previous game, scored a career-best 16 points. He was 6-13 from the field and 4-9 from three-point range.
"It's always good to see guys have success when they work at it," Harris said. "Jaylen does everything that you ask of him. He practices hard every day and he takes care of his business off the court. He is making strides."
The Cougars conclude the four-game road swing with a Wednesday night game at IUPUI.
"It's a quick turnaround, but it's the nature of the beast at this level," Harris said. "We need to have two good days of practice, go to Indy and find a way to get a win."