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PREVIEW: Cougars Begin Homestand With UT Martin

Jan. 23, 2011

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SIUE (5-16) vs.
UT Martin (7-14)
Mon., Jan. 24, 7 p.m.
Vadalabene Center

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UT Martin is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Skyhawks have won three straight after dropping seven in a row. They are currently 6-14. The `Hawks are led by senior Benzor Simmons paces the team with 12.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest. Three other `Hawks average in double figures.

The Cougars are 1-10 against Ohio Valley Conference opponents under Head Coach Lennox Forrester. The lone win came December 31, 2008-a 70-69 win at Southeast Missouri. This year the Cougars are 0-4 against Ohio Valley teams, with losses to Murray State, EKU twice, and Morehead State.

The Cougars have eight games remaining including tonight. Seven of those games are at home. This comes after SIUE played 14 of its first 21 games away from the Vadalabene Center.

After not playing an overtime game since 2008, the Cougars played overtime in three straight home games. The Cougars won Jan. 8 over South Dakota 94-85. SIUE also prevailed over Kennesaw State Dec. 11 77-76, after falling at home to Middle Tennessee 73-64 Dec. 4.

The Cougars won the Upper Division Championship at the IBN Las Vegas Classic Dec. 22 and 23 after finishing with a pair of wins at the Orleans Arena. SIUE defeated Longwood and The Citadel en route to the title.

SIUE scored a season-high 94 points in the win over South Dakota. This came after scoring a season-low 46 points in each of its previous two games.

Junior point guard Corey Wickware continues to lead the team in scoring with an average of 12.1 points a game. The transfer from Wabash Community College scored a career-high 26 points Jan. 8 against South Dakota. It was his third 20+ point effort this season. Wickware has scored in double figures in 15 games this year. He has led the team in scoring a team-best seven times.

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 third on the team in scoring (9.4 ppg) and leads in rebounding (5.7 rpg).

The senior center has enjoyed a fine career in a Cougar uniform. He is now 24th on the career scoring list with 797 points. His career field goal percentage of .594 is sixth best. He has 95 blocked shots in his career, ranking fourth.

Senior Cody Rincker has started three of the last five games, after coming off the bench to start the season. He 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. Rincker added eight points against The Citadel, including a key three-pointer with less than a minute to play. He had a career-high five steals against South Dakota.

Freshman forward Michael Messer has had a successful start to his college career. He has made 17 starts this season, which is second-most on the team. Messer poured in a career-high 24 points in the win over Kennesaw State. He is now fourth in scoring (8.5 ppg) and second in rebounding (3.4 rpg) among regulars. He is second on the team with a .496 field goal percentage (63-127).

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

Kevin Stineman tied his career best with six assists against South Dakota. He leads the team with 58 assists, an average of 2.8 a game.

Junior Cornelius Chatt is now second on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg). He scored a career-best 25 at Northwestern. Chatt has scored in double figures 11 times this year. He leads the team in field goal attempts (206).

Nine different players have led the team in scoring this season. Wickware has led the team seven times. Bundalo has led the team four times. Eight different players have led the team in rebounding. Bundalo has led the team 11 times. Dob Mavrak has led the team in rebounding three times.

Five different players have at least 10 three-pointers this year. Wickware leads the team with 43 followed by Chatt's 30. Wickware also has attempted the most three-pointers (113).

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.

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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