January 18, 2011

Eastern Kentucky Shoots Past Cougars

Jan. 18, 2011

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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Eastern Kentucky shot 60 percent in the second half Tuesday night on its way to a 70-50 win over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in men's basketball at the Vadalabene Center.

The Colonels, 10-9, used the strong second-half shooting to turn a four-point game at half (30-26) into the 20-point windfall. EKU shot 49.1 percent (27-55) for the game to win for the third consecutive time.

"Give Eastern Kentucky a lot of credit," SIUE Coach Lennox Forrester said. "They made plays. They made shots."

The Cougars, 5-15, managed 8 of 24 shots in the second half (30 percent). SIUE was 1 for 11 from three-point range in the second half, after hitting 7 of 13 three-point attempts in the first.

Both teams traded 4-0 runs at the start of the second half. Cornelius Chatt converted a fast break with a layup, and Cody Rincker followed with a jumper with 16:43 to play that made it 34-30.

Eastern Kentucky called a timeout before Justin Stommes went on a 7-0 run of his own. Stommes finished the barrage with a three-pointer from the right corner to put EKU up 41-30.

SIUE would twice get the score to within nine before the Colonels pulled away for good. Stommes hit a pair of free throws with 13:40 to play to extend the EKU lead back to 11. The Colonels never led by less than 10 from that point forward.

Stommes led four Colonels in double figures with 17 points. Joshua Jones finished with 14. Spencer Perrin had 12 while Jaron Jones scored 10.

Chatt was the only Cougar in double figures. He scored 13. Corey Wickware scored nine, including hitting all six he attempted from the free throw line.

"Our offense didn't finish," Forrester said. "We have to be tougher than that." Forrester added that the Colonels' defense bothered the Cougars.

"Their 1-3-1 zone took us out of synch a little bit," he said. "I told them coming in they had to attack the zone and not let the zone attack them."

The Cougars will hit the road to face Big Ten opponent Northwestern Thursday in Evanston. Tip time is set for 5:15 p.m.

"(Northwestern) is a tough team at home," Forrester said. "It will be a challenge, and I hope our guys will be ready."