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PREVIEW: Cougars Open New Year At Ball State

Jan. 2, 2011

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SIUE (4-12) at
Ball State (7-4)
Mon., Jan. 3, 6 p.m. CT
Muncie, Ind.

Series Record: BSU leads 2-0
Last Meeting: L 57-47 11/21/09 at BSU
First Meeting: L 67-55 11/22/08 at BSU
Record at SIUE: 0-0
Record at BSU: 0-2
Neutral: 0-0
Largest SIUE win: None
Largest BSU win: 67-55 11/22/08 at BSU
Current Streak: Lost 2

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Ball State is a member of the Mid American Conference. Tonight's meeting is the third in as many years for the two schools. The Cardinals are led by junior Jarrod Jones. He is one of two Cardinals currently averaging double figures in scoring. Jones averages 15.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore Jauwan Scaife is second on the team with 12 points per game.

The Cougars are 1-2 against Mid American Conference opponents (0-2 vs. Ball State) under Head Coach Lennox Forrester. The lone win came against Western Michigan Nov. 16, 2008. It was the program's first Division I victory. All-time SIUE is 1-3 against members of the MAC.

Today's game is the sixth of six consecutive road games for the Cougars, the longest such stretch of the season. SIUE does not return home until a Jan. 8 game against South Dakota.

The Cougars won the Upper Division Championship at the IBN Las Vegas Classic after finishing with a pair of wins at the Orleans Arena. SIUE defeated Longwood and The Citadel en route to the title.

After not playing an overtime game since 2008, the Cougars have played overtime twice in their last three home games. SIUE prevailed in double overtime over Kennesaw State Sat. Dec.11 after falling at home to Middle Tennessee a week earlier on Dec. 4.

Junior point guard Corey Wickware is leading the team in scoring with an average of 11.6 points a game. The transfer from Wabash Community College scored a career-high 25 points in the Cougars' loss at Illinois State. He scored 23 in the Cougars' win over Longwood in Las Vegas. Wickware has scored in double figures in 11 games this year.

Wickware was named to the IBN Las Vegas Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 18 points over the two games.

Nikola Bundalo posted his third double-double of the year (and fifth of his career) against The Citadel in Vegas when he scored 16 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Nov. 20 against MacMurray, he recorded 25 points and 13 rebounds. Both are career highs. He is second on the team in scoring (10.2ppg) and leads in rebounding (6.1).

The senior center has enjoyed a fine career in a Cougar uniform. He is now 28th on the career scoring list with 762 points. His career field goal percentage of .600 is sixth best. He has 93 blocked shots in his career, ranking fourth.

Senior Cody Rincker was named the Independent (no conference affiliation) Sixth Man of the Week by after averaging 10 points over two games in Las Vegas. He scored 12 points in SIUE's win over Longwood. He was 4 of 5 from three-point range. He added eight points against The Citadel, including a key three-pointer with less than a minute to play. Rincker is shooting 47 percent (17-36) from beyond the arc this year.

Freshman forward Michael Messer has had a successful start to his college career. He has made 11 starts this season. Messer poured in a career-high 24 points in the win over Kennesaw State. He is now fourth in scoring (8.4 ppg) and second in rebounding (3.7 rpg) among regulars. He is second on the team with a .510 field goal percentage (49-96).

Messer is the only player to have scored at least a field goal in every game this season.

Kevin Stineman dished out five assists in each of the games in Vegas. He also scored a career high 14 points vs. Longwood. Stineman leads the team with 43 assists, an average of 2.7 a game.

Junior Cornelius Chatt is now third on the team in scoring (8.9 ppg). He scored a career-high 22 points at Tennessee Tech. Chatt has scored in double figures seven times this year. Chatt leads the team in field goal attempts (152).

SIUE has scored 65 points or less in all 12 losses this season. In six of those losses, the Cougars have scored either 64 or 65 points.

Nine different players have led the team in scoring this season. Bundalo and Wickware have each led the team four times. Chatt has led the team three times. Eight different players have led the team in rebounding. Bundalo has led the team nine times. Abel Tillman has led the team in rebounding twice this year.

Six different players have at least four three-pointers this year. Wickware leads the team with 31 followed by Chatt's 20. Wickware also has attempted the most three-pointers (87).

Head Coach Lennox Forrester has announced that junior forward Mark Yelovich, the team's leading scorer each of the past two years, will miss the remainder of the season after a foot injury suffered in the opener against IPFW.

Coach Forrester announced Charles Joy has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball for SIUE beginning with the 2011-2012 season. Joy is a 6-4 forward at O'Fallon High School. He averaged 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds a game last season, helping the Panthers to a 30-4 record and a fourth-place finish at the Class 4A state tournament. Joy also plays for the Southwest Illinois Jets AAU program.

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