EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Four SIUE players scored in double figures as the Cougars continued their winning ways Tuesday with an 88-76 victory over Chicago State at the Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars improved to 4-6 and registered their third consecutive victory for the first time since mid-Feburary (Feb. 14, 19 and 21) of 2015. Chicago State dropped to 2-13 and lost its ninth in succession.
"We did some really good things tonight and we are making progress to string wins together," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "We have good scoring balance on this team, we are doing some good things on the offensive end and we are playing together."
Christian Ellis and Jalen Henry both scored 19 points to pace SIUE, which made 32 of 53 shots (60.4 percent) and produced its most points of the season. It was the Cougars' highest shooting percentage since January 25, 2014 in a game at UT Martin.
Ellis matched a career-high in points and also equaled one with eight assists. Jaylen McCoy punched in a season-best 17 points, Daniel Kinchen contributed 15 points, while Keenan Simmons collected eight points, six of them on dunks. He also blocked seven shots.
"We are definitely playing better right now," said Ellis, a sophomore guard from Oakland, California. "We have good chemistry on this team."
McCoy made 5 of 6 shots, including 4 of 5 from 3-point land, in a torrid-shooting outing.
"It felt good," said McCoy, a junior guard from Montgomery, Alabama. "I've put in a lot of work and it has paid off for me."
Harris figures the winning streak serves as a confidence booster for the Cougars, set to play their next five games on the road.
"That's a big for us," he added. "We don't have the experience of stringing together wins, so the guys are growing mentally."
A couple of scoring sprees fueled the SIUE Cougars. They went on an 11-0 run early in the game to build a 13-6 lead. Chicago State responded with an 11-point binge itself after that, but the Cougars recovered to forge ahead 37-33 by halftime.
Chicago State managed to knot things at 43-all early in the second half, but SIUE went on a 10-0 blitz and never looked back. SIUE stretched its lead to 71-55 with 7:40 and then closed out the victory.
Overall, they knocked down 17 of 24 free throws, connected on 7 of 17 shots from 3-point land, grabbed 28 rebounds, logged 19 assists and blocked eight shots. Glen Burns' 18 points were best for Chicago State, which put five players in double figures. The visitors made 31 of 62 shots, including 3 of 10 from beyond the arch. Chicago State sank 11 of 13 free throws.
Next up for SIUE is Central Michigan of the Mid-American Conference on Friday in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, in the Cougars' final nonconference game of the season. Tipoff is at 6 p.m
The Cougars begin their Ohio Valley Conference competition Thursday, Dec. 28 at Austin Peay.