EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Middle Tennessee State University outscored Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 14-5 in overtime Saturday for a 73-64 win in men's basketball at the Vadalabene Center.
"It's disappointing," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "I'm hurt for our guys more than anything because I thought they played hard."
It was just the second overtime game for the Cougars under Forrester and the first for SIUE since a loss at Quincy during the 2007-2008 season.
With the Cougars trailing 57-56 and 27 seconds remaining in regulation, Corey Wickware buried a three-pointer from the right wing to move SIUE in front 59-57. It was the Cougars' first lead in the second half since a Wickware three-pointer with 15:53 to play made it 35-33.
On Middle Tennessee's ensuing possession, James Gallman missed a three-point attempt. JT Sulton rebounded the ball for the Blue Raiders and was fouled. Sulton hit both free throws to send the game into overtime.
"It came down to one play, Forrester said. "And we didn't come up with the defensive rebound to seal the game."
SIUE, 1-8, took a quick two-point lead in the overtime period. Nikola Bundalo was fouled less than a minute into the period and then sank a pair of free throws to make it 61-59. Middle Tennessee, 4-4, rallied for a 10-0 run over the next 3:47 to seal the win.
The Cougars hit just one of seven shots from the field in the extra period, including missing four three-point attempts. Middle Tennessee was 2 of 2 from the floor but converted 10 of 15 from the free throw line in overtime.
SIUE never trailed in the first half. The Cougars extended the lead to as many as nine points in the first half after a Bundalo layup with 8:23 before halftime. The Cougars held a 29-26 lead at the break, their first halftime lead of the season.
Middle Tennessee outrebounded SIUE 45-31. The Blue Raiders managed 17 offensive rebounds. Middle Tennessee forced the Cougars into 22 turnovers.
Bundalo led SIUE with 17 points. It is the third time this season the senior center has paced the Cougars. He also added seven rebounds to lead the team. Wickware and Cornelius Chatt each joined Bundalo in double figures. Wickware had 12, including three three-pointers. Chatt scored 10 while adding six assists.
"I like our mentality. I like our attidude," Forrester said. "I like the fact that our guys are allowing us to coach them, and because of that we have been getting better on a daily basis."
SIUE will next travel to Chicago for a Wednesday game at Loyola. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.