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PREVIEW: Cougars Travel to South Dakota

Feb. 18, 2011

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SIUE (7-19) at
South Dakota (12-13)
Sun., Feb. 20, 1 p.m.
Vermillion, S.D.

Series Record: USD leads 4-2
Last Meeting: W 94-85 (OT) 1/8/11 at SIUE
First Meeting: W 73-68 2/7/09 at SIUE
Record at SIUE: 2-1
Record at USD: 0-2
Neutral: 0-1
Largest SIUE win: 94-85 (OT) 1/8/11 at SIUE
Largest USD win: 116-74 3/8/09 (at Grand Forks, ND)
Current Streak: Won 1

South Dakota is a member of the Great West Conference but will become full members of the Summit League in time for the 2011-2012 academic year. The Coyotes are led by junior transfer Charlie Westbrook, who averages 16.1 points a game. Freshman Trevor Gruis leads the Coyotes with 7.3 rebounds a game.

The Cougars are 3-7 against the Great West Conference under Head Coach Lennox Forrester, having played only South Dakota and North Dakota. The league, which began play as a football-only league in 2004, added basketball for the 2008-09 season. The Cougars are 4-9 all-time against current conference members.

The Cougars defeated the Coyotes Jan. 8 94-85 in overtime at the Vadalabene Center. Corey Wickware scored a career-high 26 points to lead four Cougars in double figures.

After not playing an overtime game since 2008, the Cougars played overtime in three straight home games earlier this season. The Cougars won Jan. 8 over South Dakota 94-85. SIUE also prevailed over Kennesaw State 77-76 on Dec. 11. The Cougars fell at home to Middle Tennessee 73-64 on 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 after scoring a season-low 46 points in each of its previous two games.

Junior Cornelius Chatt has scored in double figures in eight consecutive games, and is averaging 17.8 points a game over that stretch. He now has five 20-plus point games this season. He is second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.6 points a game.

Junior point guard Corey Wickware leads the team in scoring with an average of 11.8 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-plus point effort this season. Wickware has scored in double figures in 18 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 grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds in the Cougars' loss to Murray State and has five double-digit rebound games this year. Bundalo scored a career-high 25 points against MacMurray earlier this year and has three double-doubles this season. He is now third on the team in scoring (9.6 ppg) and leads in rebounding (6.2 rpg).

The senior center has enjoyed a fine career in a Cougar uniform. He is 21st on the career scoring list with 848 points. His career field goal percentage of .598 is sixth best. He has 98 blocked shots in his career, ranking fourth.

Senior Cody Rincker has started four games recently after coming off the bench to start the season. He scored a career-high 14 points in the win over Greenville. He was named the Independent (no conference affiliation) Sixth Man of the Week by after averaging 10 points over two games in Las Vegas in December. He scored 12 points in the win over Longwood, where he was 4 of 5 from three-point range, and eight points against The Citadel. He had career highs in assists (6) and steals (5) in the first game vs. South Dakota.

Freshman Michael Messer has had a successful start to his career. He has made 21 starts this season, second-most on the team. Messer poured in a career-high 24 points in the win over Kennesaw State. He is fourth in scoring (8.2 ppg) and second in rebounding (3.2 rpg) among regulars. He is second on the team with a .453 field goal percentage (72-159).

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 71 assists, an average of 2.7 a game.

Nine different players have led the team in scoring this season. Wickware and Chatt have each led the team eight times. Eight different players have led the team in rebounding. Bundalo has led the team 13 times. Dob Mavrak has led the team in rebounding five times.

Five different players have at least 14 three-pointers this year. Wickware leads the team with 50 followed by Chatt's 42. Wickware leads the team with 141 attempts followed by 134 by Chatt.

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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