MUNCIE, Ind. - SIUE committed too many turnovers, and allowed too many Ball State free throws Monday night in a 76-46 loss in men's basketball at Worthen Arena on the Ball State campus.
"We weren't tough at all," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said.
The Cougars, now 4-13 overall and 0-10 on the road, turned the ball over 24 times, leading to 25 Ball State points. The 24 turnovers were the second most this season for SIUE, which committed 29 at Iowa.
"It wasn't anything Ball State was doing," Forrester said of the turnovers. "Sometimes (the ball) was going right through our hands."
The Cardinals, 8-4, went to the free throw line 37 times Monday, hitting 26 of their shots. The 37 free throws were the second most attempted this year by a Cougar opponent. Iowa attempted 38.
"We fouled too much," Forrester said. "Teams are getting to the free throw line way too many times on us."
Poor shooting to start the game didn't help SIUE's cause either. The Cougars started the game 3 of 20 from the field. They hit four of their last six shots to finish 7 of 26 for the period. SIUE missed all eight attempts from beyond the three-point arc in the first half.
The Cougars' percentage of 26.9 for the first half marked the second consecutive half that they have shot less than 30 percent from the field. SIUE shot just 23.1 percent (6 of 26) in the second half at Murray State Thursday. SIUE trailed 31-18 at the break. The 18 points in a half is the lowest total in a half this season for the Cougars.
Things appeared to be turning for SIUE to start the second half. Corey Wickware hit a three-pointer from the right wing to start the second half and cut the Ball State lead to 10 points (31-21).
The Cougars cut the Cardinals' lead to 11 twice in the second half, the last time coming after a Cornelius Chatt layup made it 49-38 with 9:10 to play.
Wickware led the Cougars with 10 points. He was the only Cougar in double figures. Michael Messer scored nine points. He also grabbed four rebounds and added three assists. Nikola Bundalo scored eight and added a team-high nine rebounds.
Ball State was led by Jarrod Jones who scored 19 points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds to record the sixth double-double of his season. Jesse Berry scored 18 for the Cardinals. Malik Perry scored 11, while Randy Davis added 10.
The Cougars and Cardinals each finished with 32 rebounds. SIUE next plays Saturday night, when it hosts South Dakota at the Vadalabene Center. Tipoff with the Coyotes is set for 7 p.m.
Forrester believes that with a few extra days of practice the team can improve.
"We're getting into a part of the schedule where it's not game after game," he said. "These are things that we can fix."