EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE seniors Jake Newton and Mike Chandler led the way on senior night Thursday at Vadalabene Center. However, it was Austin Peay which emerged with the 80-75 win over the Cougars in the final game of the season for SIUE.
SIUE finished the season 6-22 overall and 3-13 in the OVC. Austin Peay, which has one regular season game remaining, improved to 13-17 overall and 6-9 in OVC play.
"I continue to applaud our guys for fighting and staying the course through all the adversity that we've had," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said.
Newton led the Cougars with 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting. He was 5 for 12 from three-point range. It is the third time this season that Newton has connected on at least five three-pointers in a game. He knocked down a career-best seven three-pointers in the first meeting with Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Chandler scored a career-high 10 points. He was 5 for 6 from the field, while adding four rebounds, four blocks, two steals and an assist.
C.J. Carr was the only other Cougar to score in double figures. Carr scored 13 points. He was 4 of 8 from the field. He turned in a game-high five assists.
"This is a resilient group," Harris added. "When you transition, sometimes you don't know what you're going to get. I give our seniors a lot of credit. They accepted myself and the staff from day one. They banded together and tried to rally the team to win. They're a solid group of guys who have meant a lot to me in year one of this program."
After a quick start by Austin Peay, the Cougars found themselves trailing 22-9 with 7:38 to play before halftime. SIUE then proceeded on a 20-5 run over the next 6:05. A three-pointer by Newton gave SIUE its first lead, 29-27, with 1:03 to play in the period. Chandler scored eight points during the Cougar run.
Austin Peay hit four free throws to close out the half and carried a 31-29 lead into the break.
The teams traded baskets over the first two minutes of the second half and a Carlos Anderson bucket with 17:29 to play gave SIUE a 38-35 lead.
The Governors then took over and built their lead to as many as 13 after a layup by Khalil Davis at 11:18.
SIUE pulled within one point at 73-72 on a jumper from Anderson with 1:16 left to play. Jared Savage was fouled attempting a three-point play on the next possession and gave APSU the lead for good with three free throws.
Josh Robinson led Austin Peay with 22 points. Davis added 18 points. Chris Horton scored 15 and grabbed nine rebounds. Savage scored 11.
Despite the program's final record, Harris is optimistic about the future.
"We've grown and continued to fight," Harris said. "We didn't make the progress I wanted to, but we made steps. I like our group that's returning and our signees for the future, and I think the program is headed in the right direction."