EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE men's basketball used a 26-3 run to end the first half and rolled over Fontbonne in exhibition play 80-48 at the Vadalabene Center.
Burak Eslik led three SIUE players in double figures with 14 points. Yemi Makanjuola scored 13, and C.J. Carr added 10. Alton, Illinois, native Carlos Anderson led the Cougars on the boards and was one point shy of a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds.
"The guys did a good job moving the ball and passing the ball," said SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris. "Our defensive intensity was there. I was pleased with the effort tonight."
It was the first contest on the Cougar bench for Harris, who played his prep basketball just a few miles away at Edwardsville High School.
"It was a surreal experience for me not only to have this opportunity but to have it in front of all my friends and family in my hometown," added Harris.
Ball control was at a heightened rate for the Cougars, who committed just four turnovers in the game.
SIUE took advantage of 18 turnovers by the Griffins, turning them into 21 points.
"Winning the turnover battle is a key to our success," said Harris. "We applauded the guys in the locker room for just four turnovers and only one in the second half. They made a conscious effort to take care of the basketball and trust each other. That was good to see for our first game."
The Cougars pounded the ball into the paint against Fontbonne for 38 points, nearly half of its team total coming from close range.
"We feel good about our lineup," said Harris. Our guys did a good job off the bench and raised the level and picked up our defense. This is an energetic and fast paced league and you have to have guys that can come off the bench, so that's something we'll continue to develop.
SIUE held a four-point lead on Fontbonne at the 11-minute mark of the first half and began its game-changing run with a three-pointer by Eslik with 10:41 left.
Carr and Fontbonne's Lelis Djona exchanged baskets near the 10-minute mark of the half. After that, it was all SIUE.
"There's no lineup that can't go out and produce," said Carr. "We just come in and produce and get the job done."
Richard Dorhauer led the Griffins with 13 points followed by 10 from Ben Kissing.
SIUE opens the 2015 regular season next Friday against Arkansas State. Game time is 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on WSIE FM 88.7 as well as FOX Sports Midwest.