EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Mark Yelovich scored a season-high 20 points Thursday night, including the 1,000th of his Cougar career, but it wasn't enough as visiting Austin Peay defeated SIUE 80-67 in Ohio Valley Conference basketball at the Vadalabene Center.
"I thought our guys were trying hard, but you also have to play smart," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "When it came down to being smart, I didn't think we were a very smart basketball team, especially on the defensive end."
Yelovich, who entered the game with 998 career points, missed his first three shots of the night. The junior forward used an offensive rebound and a stick back for the milestone basket 3:05 into the game.
"I thought he was very effective offensively. He gave us a big lift and was being more aggressive by driving to the basket."
Yelovich missed just once more over the remainder of the game. He was 9 of 13 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds, which led SIUE. Yelovich is now 13th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,018 points for his career.
The Cougars, now 5-11 overall and 3-4 in the OVC, built their lead to as many as nine points in the first half. Kris Davis hit a three-pointer to put SIUE on top 15-6 with 11:52 to play before half.
Austin Peay, 7-13 overall and 4-3 in the OVC, led 37-36 at the break and then scored the first eight points of the second half to lead 45-36 just three minutes into the second period.
The Cougars got as close as four points, 66-62, thanks to a Yelovich jumper with 4:33 left. Yelovich scored with 2:12 to play to make it 72-67 before The Governors scored the game's final eight points. SIUE missed a pair of shots and turned the ball over twice in the game's final two minutes.
Austin Peay outrebounded SIUE 36-27, including a 20-9 edge in the second half. The Governors secured 13 offensive rebounds compared to just six for the Cougars.
"Offensive rebounds and turnovers killed us. They had 13 possessions more than we did. I thought that a deciding factor in the game."
Three other Cougars finished in double figures in scoring. Corey Wickware and Jerome Jones each scored 12 points. Davis added 11 points. Wickware was 4 of 7 from the field, with all seven attempts coming from three-point range.
For the game, the Cougars shot 51 percent (26-51) from the field. Austin Peay was even sharper, shooting 54.7 percent (35-64) for the game.
SIUE remains home to host No. 10 Murray State Saturday night. The Racers come into the game with a perfect 19-0 record overall. The game will tip at 8 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPNU.