PORTLAND, Ore. – SIUE men's basketball saw a halftime lead disappear for the second time in as many nights, falling at Portland State 77-74 Saturday in the team's second game at the Portland State Tournament.
SIUE drops to 1-4 with the loss. Portland State improved to 3-1.
"In the second half we just didn't have the defensive intensity that we had in the first half," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "I thought the guys played pretty good in the first half."
The Cougars led for the first 33:27 of the game, and held a 43-33 edge at halftime thanks to a Ray Lester dunk as time expired.
Tim Johnson scored 17 points to lead three SIUE players in double figures. Donivine Stewart scored 16 points while Keaton Jackson added 11. Stewart and Jackson shared the rebounding lead with four apiece. Stewart also finished with a team-high five assists, and the team registered 19 assists for the game.
"On offense our guys are doing good things," Forrester added. "We had more assists than turnovers tonight."
The Cougars had a seven-point lead when Tim Douglas sank the first of three three-pointers to make it 49-45 SIUE with 16:32 to play. Lester hit a short jumper to extend the lead back to five before Douglas struck again from the right wing to make it 51-48. Douglas, who was 2 for 9 from three-point range before the game, drained a third three-pointer with 11:43 to play to make it 56-53 SIUE. Douglas led Portland State with a game-high 18 points.
Marcus Hall hit a three-pointer with 6:33 left to briefly put Portland State on top 62-61. Johnson gave SIUE the lead back before Portland State's Andre Winston hit a pair of free throws to move the Vikings on top for good at 64-63.
Portland State led by five when Michael Messer scored on a runner with 1:11 left to make it 73-70. Johnson then sank a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game at 73-72. Douglas put PSU back up three with a pair of his own free throws with 25 seconds left. Jackson was fouled 16 seconds left and hit both shots to make it 75-74. Andre Winston made it 77-74 with two free throws with just nine seconds left.
Davis' had a chance to tie the game for SIUE, but his three-point attempt with from the left corner nine seconds left glanced off the rim.
Portland State was 7 of 17 from three-point range, and 18-22 (81.8 percent) from the free throw line. The Cougars were 12-13 (92.3 percent) from the free throw line. SIUE was just 1 of 10 from three-point range after haftime.
"In the second half we didn't do a good enough job of getting to the free throw line, Forrester said. "We need to learn we can't just settle for jump shots. We have to get to the basket to get to the free throw line."
SIUE will finish the tournament with Loyola Sunday. Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m. central time.