Balanced Effort Brings SIUE Road Sweep

Cougars Win!

MOREHEAD, Ky. – Four SIUE players scored in double figures Saturday to lead SIUE men's basketball to its first-ever win at Morehead State. The Cougars upended the Eagles 70-65 at Johnson Arena.

Coupled with Thursday's win at Eastern Kentucky, it is the first time SIUE has swept a two-game Ohio Valley Conference road trip. The Cougars improved to 2-2 in the OVC and 6-9 overall. The win also is the fourth road win of the year for the Cougars, marking a new high for road wins since the move to Division I.  

"We made enough plays late in the game, and got enough stops," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "We have to execute better, but you can never negate two wins. Wins, especially on the road are so hard to get. Our guys did a really good job."

Jalen Henry's fourth double-double of the season of 16 points and 11 rebounds paced the Cougars.

"Jalen is a really good rebounder, but what he does is pursues rebounds," Harris said. "It's easy to get the boards that come right to you, but he's getting to rebounds that are out of his area and that shows growth for him."

Jaylen McCoy followed with 14 points. David McFarland scored 12 points.

Daniel Kinchen added 10 points and a game and a career-high eight assists.

"He's done a great job," Harris said. "He has always been a very capable offensive guy. He is starting to grow on the defensive end."

Christian Ellis added four points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Bradon Jackson scored six points.

The 65 points allowed by the Cougars is a season low.

"Collectively, our guys are starting to understand that your defense travels and that is something you're in control every night," Harris added. "For us, 65 points is a pretty good number."

SIUE buried eight first-half three-pointers on its way to a 14-point lead at the break. The lead is the largest halftime lead this year for the Cougars.

Henry and McCoy each had 12 points in the first half. McCoy was 4-5 from three-point range. Henry was 2-2 from three-point range.

The Cougars pushed their lead to 16 points on a Keenan Simmons jumper just 24 seconds into the second half.

A 12-2 run capped off by a three-pointer from Djimon Henson with 14:16 left trimmed SIUE's lead to six at 45-39. The Cougars extended the lead to double digits several more times, only to have the Eagles answer.

SIUE knocked down six of eight free throw attempts to lead 70-62 with 10 seconds to play. Morehead State's A.J. Hicks ran the floor and nailed a three from the left wing with four seconds to play for the 70-65 final.

"I give (Morehead State) a lot of credit," Harris said. "They scratched, they clawed, they stayed the course and they battled back. We had to fight for it. We had to earn it."

Lamontray Harris scored 16 points to lead Morehead State. Hicks and Jordan Walker each scored 14 points. Henson added 11 points.

For the second straight game, SIUE racked up 17 assists. The Cougars turned the ball over just 10 times.

"We talked about was playing for the guy next to you, playing for your teammate, making the extra pass. We're starting to buy into that. The ball is moving better on the offensive end," Harris said. "We had only 10 turnovers, and two or three of them late. We did a great job with our ball control."

SIUE returns to Vadalbene Center for the first time in OVC play Thursday. SIUE plays host to Belmont in a 7 p.m. game.

"Belmont has one of the best coaches in America and they are a powerhouse," Harris said. "Hopefully our guys have gained some confidence on this road swing. We'll be ready."  

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