EDWARDSVILLE – SIUE started slowly and never quite recovered Wednesday as the Cougars suffered a 76-56 setback to Tennessee State in a men's basketball game at the Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars sustained their eighth consecutive loss and dropped to 5-17 overall and 0-8 in the Ohio Valley Conference. SIUE has lost 14 of its last 15 games. Tennessee State improved to 13-8 and 4-4 overall in ending a three-game skid.
"Offensively, we got off to a slow start and had some lulls," SIUE Head coach Jon Harris said. "But we battled, even though we had a slow start."
The Cougars managed just 18 first-half points and trailed by 14 points at the break. SIUE, which never led in the game, got to within eight points early in the second half, but no closer.
"We were trading baskets with them and that's not what we wanted to do," Harris said.
Carlos Anderson, a sophomore from Alton, tried to keep the Cougars pointed in the right direction. He scored a team-best 15 points and had three assists and two rebounds. He tallied 10 of his points the second half.
"I was trying to be more aggressive in the second half and bring some energy to the team," Anderson said.
Harris said, "Carlos responded tonight and had a tremendous game."
Jalen Henry added 11 points for SIUE, while Keenan Simmons contributed 10 points and seven rebounds. The winning Tigers put five players in double figures, made 28 of 49 shots and outrebounded the Cougars 33-20.
"Tennessee State is one of the top teams in the league and played like it tonight," Harris said. "They have some big guys, they are good rebounders and they shot it well against us."
Darreon Reddick, a junior from Belleville, scored 14 points for Tennessee State and said the Tigers were at the top of their game against the Cougars.
"We have a very balanced team and everybody has special abilities," he said. "That's what makes us hard to guard."
Tigers' coach Dana Ford noted, "I thought our guys played a complete game."
Ford was impressed with the Cougars spunky play. "They really play hard and they have some talented players," Ford said. "It's hard when you don't have a lot of seniors and Coach Harris is still implementing his culture for the program."
SIUE made 19 of 45 shots, including 5 of 13 from 3-point range. The Cougars converted 13 of 23 foul shots. Tennessee State made 28 of 49 shots, including 8 of 14 from 3-point land.
"It's difficult for us mentally right now, but we have to stay strong and positive," Anderson said.
Harris echoed those sentiments. The Cougars play Saturday at Eastern Illinois in Charleston.
"We fought hard all the way to the end and sometimes that's not easy to do, where we are," he said. "We have a competitive group and we have to keep pushing. We aren't getting the results we want, but eventually things will tip or way."