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Late Run Not Enough for Cougars

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson

CARBONDALE, Ill. –  A 25-8 run by SIUE over a seven minute stretch late in the second half wasn't enough, as SIU Carbondale held on for a 74-57 win over the Cougars in front of 7,057 Monday night at SIU Arena.

The Salukis (4-8) led 60-32 with 8:21 remaining in the game when SIUE (2-10) went on its run. A Maurice Wiltz three-pointer with 1:13 to play made the score 68-57.   

"Our team is not going to quit," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "They stayed in there and chipped away."   

The run wasn't enough to overcome a slow start and a tough first half for the visitors. SIUE managed just six made field goals and shot 26 percent (6 of23) over the first 20 minutes. Meanwhile SIUC was 16 of 28 (57.1 percent) over the same period. SIUC led 39-20 at the break.

"We just didn't come out with great intensity, especially on the defensive end," Forrester said. "We just did a terrible job guarding.  We didn't do a very good job of coming up with the 50-50 balls."

The Cougars opened the second half with a 10-5 run. A three-pointer from Tim Johnson made it 44-30 with 16:32 to play in the game. A 16-2 run put the Salukis up by 28 (60-32), their largest lead of the game.

"Give a lot of credit to Carbondale, but I didn't like the way our guys come out this evening to compete," Forrester said. "We still have to make great strides on the defensive end." 

For the game, SIUC connected on 60 percent (30-50) of its shots. The Cougars finished 16 of 51 from the field (31.4 percent). SIUE was 19 for 26 (73.1 percent) from the free throw line, including scoring 14 of 20 in the second half.

Johnson led the Cougars with nine points. Ray Lester scored 8. Rozell Nunn scored seven and pulled in a team-high six rebounds.

Jalen Pendleton scored 20 points to lead SIU Carbondale. The sophomore was 10 for 15 from the field. Desmar Jackson scored 13 points and added a career-high eight assists. Marcus Fillyaw was the only other Saluki player in double figures. He scored 11.

Following a short holiday break, SIUE returns home to begin a three-game home stand, which includes the start of Ohio Valley Conference play for the Cougars. SIUE will host Robert Morris (Springfield) Sun., Dec. 29. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. 

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