EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – It's a new attitude and different look for the SIUE men's basketball team, third-year Head Coach Jon Harris said.
The Cougars showed those attributes and more Sunday as they rolled by Brescia 95-75 in an exhibition game at the Vadalabene Center. No fewer than 10 Cougars scored and five reached double figures in a tune-up for Friday's season opener at Purdue.
"I think we did some good things on the offensive end and we showed some depth," Harris said of the Cougars, who led by as much as 36 over Brescia, an NAIA school from western Kentucky. "I love the personality of this team and I like the pace we played at today. We're taking some steps forward."
Henry, a 6-foot, 8-inch senior and the team's top returning scorer from last season, led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds. Kinchen, a 6-3 junior guard and transfer from Alabama Southern contributed 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. Jackson, a 6-7 sophomore from East St. Louis, punched in 12 points and snared six rebounds. Jackson matched his top scoring output from last season, when he recorded a dozen points against Southeast Missouri.
"Jalen made some big plays, David can do what he did today and Brandon is a very talented player. He plays hard," Harris said.
"We did some good things, but we have to compete hard on the defensive end from start to finish," Harris said.
Kinchen ignited an 11-0 run midway through the first half. He scored seven points, including a 3-point to push the Cougars in front 20-12. Brescia countered with a seven-point spurt of its own, but the Cougars went on a 15-0 spree to build a 35-19 lead and never look back. They led 49-25 at half.
"This team is just scratching the surface," Henry said of the Cougars' talent. "We have so much potential. We just have to go out and win games."
Jackson added, "We're going to get better. I just want to bring some energy to the floor."
Kinchen noted, "Every day in practice we go hard at each other. There's good competition. I just want to bring energy to the team and make plays."
SIUE tips off at 7 p.m. Friday against Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana The Cougars then welcome Valparaiso at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the Cougars' home opener. Valparaiso is the newest member of the Missouri Valley Conference.
Brescia, which in the River States Conference, are scheduled to play Friday at Murray State.