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Cougars Shoot Past Longwood at Las Vegas Classic

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville used strong shooting Wednesday afternoon to defeat Longwood University 78-71 at the IBN Sports Las Vegas Classic men's basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena.

"Our guys did a good job paying attention to details today," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "They were very focused."

SIUE improves to 3-11 with the win. The Cougars will play their final game of the tournament Thursday beginning at 4 p.m. CT. SIUE will face the Citadel, which defeated South Carolina State in the day's second game.

After poor shooting in the first two games of the tournament SIUE shot 54.2 percent (26-48)from the field, including 68.8 percent (11-16) from three-point range against the Lancers.

Corey Wickware led four Cougars in double figures. Wickware scord 23 points and drained six three-pointers in the win. 17 of his points came in the first half.

"Corey got us off to a great start offensively," Forrester added. "They kind of keyed on him in the second half. We told him we didn't care if he scored another point as long as he took care of the ball and distributed the ball."

Kevin Stineman added a career-high 14 points. Stineman was 3 of 5 from the field and 8 of 12 from the free throw line. Stineman also added a game-high five assists.

"Kevin was very solid tonight," Forrester continued. "He especially did a good job of taking care of the basketball and distributing the basketball." Cody Rincker was 4 of 6 from beyond the three-point arc to score 12 points. Nikola Bundalo added 10 for the Cougars.

The Cougars shot 56 percent (14-25) in the first half and went into halftime even with Longwood at 41.

In a game that featured 14 lead changes and nine ties, the Cougars controlled the second half.

The Lancers' bench was assessed a technical foul as time expired before halftime, awarding the Cougars free throws at the start of the second half. Wickware hit one of two to put SIUE in front 42-41. The two teams traded leads three times before a Bunadlo layup with 16:37 to play pushed the Cougars back in front 49-48. SIUE never trailed again, but also didn't cruise to victory.

Longwood, 3-11, tied the game twice and then used a 5-0 run late to cut the SIUE lead to just two points (71-69) following an Aaron Mitchell tip-in with 1:57 to play.

Bundalo stretched the lead back to four, then came up with a steal on the next play. Following a timeout Wickware drove to the basket, then passed it out for Stineman who drove to the hoop from the left, drawing the defense with him. Stineman then kicked in the left corner to Rincker who had a wide open look from three-point range. Rincker hit the long range shot to essentially sealing the win. The basket put SIUE up by seven (76-69) with 35 seconds to play.

"That was actually a play that kind of broke down," Forrester said. "It was like Corey driving and Kevin driving. Next thing you know there's an open look for Cody."

The Lancers were led by Antwan Carter who scored 24 points, and pulled down seven rebounds. Jeremiah Bowman added 16 points and nine rebounds. Mitchell scored 15 and also had seven rebounds. Longwood outrebounded the Cougars 41-31 for the game.

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