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Slow Start Slows Cougars at Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -Indiana University got off to a 24-0 start over the first 7:38 Friday night and then cruised to an 88-54 victory over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in men's basketball at Assembly Hall.

The game was the first for both teams in the Las Vegas Classic presented by IBN Sports. SIUE, 2-10, continues tournament play with a Sunday game at Northern Iowa.

The Cougars missed their first 15 field goal attempts and shot just 26.9 percent in the first half.

"Obviously I thought we got off to a really slow start," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "We had some good open looks and if they go down, it really helps our rhythm."

"I thought, too, we gave up some easy baskets in transition," Forrester continued.

SIUE was held scoreless until Michael Messer sank a pair of free throws with 11:06 to play before halftime. Corey Wickware hit two free throws with 10:44 to play in the first half to make it 24-4.

It was 35-4 Indiana before the Cougars managed their first field goal, a jumper by Cody Rincker from the left base line with 7:05 left in the half. The Cougars finished the half by making 7 of their last 11 shots from the floor.

Indiana, 8-2, led 47-20 at half time.

Despite the slow start, Forrester saw some good things in the first half.

"We were in the bonus early because we were being aggressive," he said.

The Cougars hit 5 of 6 free throws in the first half.

SIUE shot 40 percent (10-25) from the floor in the second half, and was outscored just 41-34 by the Hoosiers.

"We came out much better (in the second half)," Forrester said. "We did a much better job sticking to our game plan."

"It helped that we were making some shots," Forrester continued. "That slowed their transition game down."

For the game, Indiana shot 61.5 percent (32-52) from the floor, including 68 percent (17-25) in the first half. The Hoosiers were 9 for 16 from three-point range. They hit 7 of 8 three-pointers in the first half.

SIUE shot just 33.3 percent (17-51) for the game, a season worst. The 17 field goals made were also a season low for the Cougars.

Messer led the Cougars in scoring for the second straight game. Messer scored 15 points, and added four rebounds. Wickware finished with 12 points. He also grabbed three steals. The Cougars finished with a season-high nine steals.

Tip off between the Cougars and Panthers is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

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