LOS ANGELES – SIUE men's basketball shot just 27.9 percent from the field and committed 19 turnovers Monday, dropping a 70-51 decision at Southern California.
The Cougars fell to 3-8 overall with the loss. USC, which has won four five straight, improved to 10-2.
"It was a very disappointing effort tonight," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "I don't think our guys competed at the level that they have been."
USC led 39-21 at the break, following a first half in which the Cougars connected on just 24.3 percent (9 of 37) of their shots. For the game, SIUE was 19 of 68 from the field.
"Obviously when you shoot under 30 percent it's not ideal, but it was our defense and our turnovers that cost us the game," Harris said. "We had multiple chances in the second half to get the lead under 10 points even shooting as poorly as we did."
The Cougars twice trimmed the lead to 12 in the second half, but each time USC was able to extend the advantage.
The 19 turnovers were the second-most committed by SIUE this season.
"That's way too many turnovers on the road," Harris added. "It doesn't matter who you're playing. You can't turn the ball over at that clip and expect to be in the ballgame."
Nikola Jovanovic led all scorers with 21 points and 16 rebounds to pace USC. Jordan McLaughlin chipped in 12 points and six assists. Katin Reinhardt scored 10 points.
SIUE will play its final nonconference game Monday when Grand Canyon visits Edwardsville for a 7 p.m. game.
"We have one more game in Grand Canyon-which is a very good basketball team," Harris said. "We'll have to be better than we were tonight. Hopefully we can get a little momentum going into the OVC opener."