EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Jerome Jones scored 21 points and added 12 rebounds Thursday night to lead SIUE men's basketball to a 70-56 exhibition win over Blackburn at the Vadalabene Center.
"Jitters are out," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "Obviously I was nervous as a coach as I'm sure they were nervous as players."
Blackburn opened the game with an 8-0 start and extended its lead to 12 at 18-6 when the Cougars took a timeout with 11:55 to play in the first half. SIUE outscored Blackburn 32-14 for the remainder of the half to take a 38-32 lead into the break.
The Cougars never trailed in the second half. A Derian Shaffer jumper with 10:34 to play made it 54-43, and SIUE's lead never again fell below double digits.
Shaffer finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. Kris Davis scored nine for SIUE and pulled in six rebounds. David Boarden scored eight and added six rebounds. The Cougars outrebounded Blackburn 48-38.
Julian Lott led Blackburn with 20 points. Steve White added the double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Forrester admitted he wasn't pleased with his team's defense.
"Our biggest disappointment was our defense, especially transition defense," Forrester said. "We jogged back, walked back on defense, and they were scoring a lot with ease."
"(Defense) is one thing we are going to hit pretty hard here for the next game," Forrester continued.
SIUE hosts MacMurray next Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Vadalabene Center.