CANCUN, Mexico - SIUE men's basketball put six players in double figures Tuesday, but it wasn't enough. Lipscomb's Robert Boyd sank a three-pointer from the left corner with six seconds to play, lifting the Bisons to a 90-87 win over the Cougars in the opening game of the 2011 Cancun Challenge.
Corey Wickware attempted a three-point basket at the buzzer, but his shot fell short.
"We came out today and played hard and gave ourselves a chance to win," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "Our guys played hard. It's disappointing to lose this way."
"Give Lipscomb credit. They were tough enough to get out there and take the last shot," Forrester continued. "We went to zone (defense) and didn't talk and we didn't get anyone out there in time to guard the shot."
SIUE, 0-3, went on a furious 9-1 run over the previous 1:36 to even the score at 87 prior to Boyd's shot. Wickware, a senior, scored all nine points in the run for the Cougars.
Zavion Williams hit one of two free throws for Lipscomb, 2-3, to put the Bisons up 86-79 with 1:42 left in the game. Wickware hit two free throws before a steal and a basket cut the lead to four with 1:03 left. Wickware hit a three-pointer to make it 85-87 with 45 seconds left. He then tied the game with a pair of free throws with 33 seconds to play. The only Lipscomb point during the run came on a free throw by Williams.
SIUE took a 46-39 lead into halftime thanks to 64.3 percent (18-28) shooting from the field over the first 20 minutes. Lipscomb quickly responded after the break thanks in part to five early turnovers by the Cougars. The Bisons took a 54-52 lead with 16:04 to play on a Boyd layup.
"We played hard but we didn't play smart," Forrester said. "We didn't take care of the basketball especially to start the second half and we let a seven-point lead disappear."
Jerome Jones put the Cougars on top with 8:22 to play with a three-pointer to make it 69-68. Jones made it 71-68 with a layup that followed a Mark Yelovich steal with 7:45 left. Lipscomb went back ontop for good when Williams hit a free throw with 6:40 left to make it 72-71 Lipscomb.
For the game SIUE shot 56.4percent (31-55) from the field, including 47.8 percent (11-23) from three-point range.
Jones led the Cougars with 20 points on 7 of 11 shooting. 14 ofJones' points came in the second half. Wickware added 15. Yelovich and Kevin Stineman each finished with 12. Kris Davis scored 11 and Michael Messer added 10. Yelovich and Jones paced the Cougars with six rebounds each. The Cougars outrebounded Lipscomb 28-26.
Williams led all scorers with 28 points in the win for Lipscomb, which had five players in double figures. Malcolm Smith scored 13. Boyd finished with 12. Damarius Smith and Justin Glenn each added 11 points for the Bisons. Damarius Smith led Lipscomb with six rebounds. The Bisons won the turnover battle, giving it up 13 times compared to 18 for SIUE.
The Cougars will face either Sacred Heart or Hampton Wednesday. SIUE meets the loser of that game in a 12:30 tip time.