EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Three Cougars scored in double figures Tuesday night, but it wasn't enough as SIUE fell to Ball State 76-55 in men's basketball at the Vadalabene Center.
"I thought we were playing hard to start the game, but we made some mental mistakes," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "Our guys picked it up and played pretty hard."
Michael Messer and Jerome Jones each scored 12 points and Mark Yelovich added 10 for the Cougars, who fell to 1-6 with the loss. For Jones, it was fifth consecutive game he has scored in double figures. Yelovich has scored in double figures in all six games that he has played. Yelovich now has 896 points in his Cougar career, which is good for 19th on the school's career scoring list.
Ball State got out to an 11-point lead to start the game before eventually cruising to its fifth consecutive victory. The Cardinals improved to 5-2 with the win.
The Cardinals led 13-2 after a Jarrod Jones three-point basket, prompting Forrester to call a timeout. SIUE then went on a 9-2 run, capped by a Derian Shaffer to make it 15-11 Ball State with 12:27 left in the first half. Jones scored 22 points and added 13 rebounds for the Cardinals, who led 38-24 at halftime. Jesse Berry added a game-high 25 points for Ball State off the bench.
Shaffer scored seven points and added seven boards for SIUE.
SIUE never cut the lead to single digits in the second half, and Ball State extended the lead to as many as 28 on three separate occasions. The Cardinals were helped by rebounding and quality free throw shooting. Ball State hit 76 percent (22-29) of its shots from the stripe, including converting 15 of 19 in the second half.
The Cardinals outrebounded the Cougars 38-28 over the course of the game.
"It's just a matter of us going and getting the rebound," Forrester added. "That is one thing we have to get better at. We are capable, but we have to be hungry enough on the boards."
SIUE remains home to host Hannibal-LaGrange Saturday night. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.