Jan. 27, 2010
MURRAY, Ky. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Nikola Bundalo recorded the second double-double of his career, but SIUE suffered an 86-49 defeat against Murray State at the Regional Special Events Center.
The future Ohio Valley Conference rival collected its 10th consecutive victory. Ranked No. 8 in the nation in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, the Racers improved to 19-3 overall. SIUE is now 3-18.
Bundalo was a bright spot for the Cougars with 12 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. "I thought Nick did a tremendous job for us rebounding the ball," said SIUE Coach Lennox Forrester, pointing to Bundalo's seven offensive rebounds. SIUE won the battle of the boards 45-36.
The Cougars ran into a hot team in Murray State, which shot 58.6 percent from the floor. The Racers hit their first five three-pointers of the contest and shot 7 of 13 (53.8 percent) from three-point range.
Murray State used a balanced attack with Tony Easley finishing as the game's leading scorer at 13 points. The Racers pushed their advantage with a 40-20 scoring edge from the bench as well as by scoring 25 points off the fast break.
SIUE was without point guard for three-fourths of the game. Aamir McCleary, who came into the game averaging 12.3 points and nearly five assists per game, was missing from the game after landing on his right hip five minutes into the contest. Forrester said not having McCleary in the lineup was a huge loss.
"He's our ball handler and sets the tempo for us offensively and defensively. He's a very valuable piece for us," Forrester said.
SIUE now has six days to prepare for its next opponent. The Cougars travel to Cape Girardeau, Mo., to take on Southeast Missouri. Game time next Tuesday at the Show Me Center is 7:45 p.m.