NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State won its ninth straight home opener Thursday dispatching SIUE 68-38 at Redbird Arena.
The Cougars dropped to 0-2 to start the men's basketball season. The game was the second of four contests for SIUE in the Cancun Challenge.
The Cougars continue the tournament in Cancun, Mexico, next Tuesday and face Lipscomb in a 12:30 p.m. game. SIUE either plays Hampton or Sacred Heart in the tournament finale next Wednesday. Both games will be carried live on WSIE FM 88.7.
Illinois State, 1-1, methodically defeated the Cougars with scoring runs throughout both halves.
SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said he was disappointed in the team's effort on both offense and defense.
"Illinois State was able to do some things that exposed our weaknesses," said Forrester.
Jackie Carmichael powered the Redbirds with a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds. His presence down low helped Illinois State outscore the Cougars 24-8 in the paint.
Mark Yelovich was the bright spot offensively for the Cougars, leading his second straight game in scoring with 18 points. He is now tied for 21st on the all-time scoring list with Bernie Lewis (1977-79) with 850 career points.
The opening minutes went well for Illinois State in its home opener. The Redbirds raced out to an 11-0 start, holding SIUE scoreless for the first six minutes of the game before Kris Davis hit a three-point to make the score 11-3.
Forrester said much of SIUE's problems were self-inflicted with offensive fouls and turnovers. "Any time you have a game plan and have no intensity, it's hard to go in there and change anything," he said.
The Redbirds continued to add to its lead behind Moore. The freshman made his first collegiate start and hit three three-pointers in the first half.
Illinois State held the lead at halftime 34-17 after SIUE shot 20 percent from the field in the first half. Jerome Jones and Yelovich were a combined 4 of 19 at halftime.
The Cougars were able to stay tough on the boards and were outrebounded only by four 39-35. Kevin Stineman led SIUE with nine rebounds.
"I thought we did a pretty good job on the defensive end. I would have liked to see us a little more active on the offensive end," Forrester said.