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Cougars Collect Victory No. 1

Aamir McCleary
Aamir McCleary
November 16, 2008

          CHARLESTON, S.C. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville joined the ranks of NCAA Division I men's basketball winners Sunday with an 83-72 victory over Western Michigan in the consolation game of the Charleston Classic.
          The Cougars now have but two days to rest and get ready for the University of Wisconsin Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Kohl Center.
          SIUE Coach Lennox Forrester said the Cougars maintained the effort and attitude it showed in losing two close games at the Charleston Classic. This time, SIUE would get the best of the Broncos, 0-3. It was effort and attitude that Forrester pointed out as the major reason why SIUE improved to 1-2.
          "If you bring the effort, good things are going to happen," said Forrester.
          SIUE used five players in double figures, including a season-high 21 points from Aamir McCleary. The junior from Philadelphia, Pa., hit a key three-pointer with 2:11 left, giving SIUE some extra breathing room at the end.
          Nikola Bundalo was a force inside with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Barry Wellington scored 12 and grabbed four steals. Aaron Garriott turned in his first double-digit scoring day with 11. Mark Yelovich, the leading scorer in SIUE's first two contests, picked up 10 points, all in the second half.
          Forrester said the Cougars did not hang their heads after two losses by a total of nine points to College of Charleston and East Tennessee State.
          "We stayed positive about everything. We've told our guys we want to get better every day whether it's in practice or in a game," said Forrester.
          SIUE shot an impressive 57.4 percent from the field, hitting 31 of 54 shots.
          Western Michigan finished with 39 percent shooting and were led by guard David Kool, who scored a game-high 27 points and dished out six assists.
          The Broncos held an early 7-6 lead and watched as the Cougars went on a 14-0 run to go up by 13 points. Western Michigan pecked away at the lead and moved to within three by halftime. Western Michigan never led the second half despite the first-half comeback.
          Forrester said shot selection was a factor in SIUE's win. Unselfish passes and team play left open shots for the Cougars.
          "I was pleased with the sharing of the basketball," said Forrester.
                    -siue cougars-
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