EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - SIUE jumped out to a nine-point lead less than four minutes into the game, trailed briefly in the first half, then sprinted to a 67-45 victory over Hannibal-LaGrange in men's basketball at the Vadalabene Center.
"I thought our guys did a good job of getting off to a good start," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester. "That's always a good thing. It's a lot easier to stay ahead rather than trying to climb into a game."
Mark Yelovich drilled a three-point basket with 16:03 to play in the first to make it 13-4 Cougars. Yelovich's second three-pointer of the night made it 17-8 SIUE with 9:08 left in the first half when Hannibal-LaGrange got hot.
The Trojans, 6-7, went on a 10-0 run capped by a three-pointer by Tony Ardison. Ardison's three-pointer made it 18-17 Hannibal-LaGrange, but the Cougars answered with a furious run of their own.
Jerome Jones nailed a three-point basket from the left wing as the first half buzzer sounded capping a 17-4 run for the Cougars to give them a 34-22 lead at the break.
"I was happy to see how they finished out the half," Forrester said.
Yelovich scored 14 first half points, and finished with a game-high 17 points. He also chipped in eight rebounds to pace the Cougars. Yelovich now has 913 career points, which ties him for 17th on the all-time scoring list. Derian Shaffer scored a career-high 14 points and tied his career high with seven rebounds. Jones turned in his sixth consecutive double-digit scoring effort with 13 points.
The Cougars, 2-6, built their lead to as many as 26 in the second half, when Jones finished a layup to make it 64-38 Cougars with 4:23 to play in the game.
The Trojans were led by Arii Meuel who scored 12 points. Jurgen Lico and Abraham Arinyakono each added four rebounds to lead Hannibal-LaGrange. Both teams finished with 37 rebounds at game's end.
SIUE takes a break for finals week before resuming the schedule Dec. 19 at SIU Carbondale. Forrester is looking forward to the match-up which is the first of a four-game series.
"Hopefully we can develop a great rivalry (with SIUC) so we can continue after the four years," Forrester said.