EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville men's basketball team stretched a four-point halftime lead into a 78-57 win over Division III Greenville College Saturday night at the Vadalabene Center.
"This was a worry game for me," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "Give Greenville a lot of credit. They played hard and played together." The Cougars, 6-18, were able to overcome 20 turnovers in the victory. Greenville, 10-7, outrebounded SIUE 41-36.
"We just can't do anything easy," Forrester quipped. "I'll take the win."
The Cougars turned the ball over 14 times in the first half but used strong shooting to lead 31-27 at the break. SIUE shot 45.8 percent (11-24) from the floor, including going 5 of 10 from three-point range, in the first half.
Andy Traeger hit a three-pointer with 15:17 to play to cut the SIUE lead to 38-35 before the Cougars grabbed control with a 15-0 run over the next 5:42. Cody Rincker hit a pair of free throws, after a Greenville technical foul, to make it 53-35 with 9:35 left in the game.
Rincker finished with a career-high 14 points on 4 of 8 shooting from the floor. All eight of his shots came from beyond the three-point arc. He was one of three Cougars in double figures Saturday.
"He was making shots," Forrester said of Rincker. "Our guys did a decent job finding him, and he was knocking them down." Rincker also led the team with three assists and three steals.
Corey Wickware led the team with a game-high 17 points. It was his 18th double-digit scoring output this season and the eighth time he has led the team in scoring.
Nikola Bundalo added 10 points for the Cougars. The senior center now has 822 points in his Cougar career moving him past teammate Mark Yelovich for 23rd on the school's all-time scoring list. Bundalo tied with Dobrivoje Mavrak and Anthony Mitchell for the team lead in rebounds. All three players finished the night with six.
The Cougars finished the game shooting 49.1 percent (26-53) from the field and 40 percent (10-25) from three-point range.
Greenville was led in scoring by Markeith Brown who scored 15 points. Traeger finished with 13 points. He was 3 of 11 from three-point range for the Panthers.
The Cougars remain home to host Southeast Missouri Tuesday night. The game, which tips at approximately 8 p.m., is the second game of a doubleheader with the women's team.