MACOMB, Ill. – SIUE shot a season-low 30.3 percent from the field Wednesday, falling to Western Illinois 83-58 at Western Hall.
The Leathernecks opened the game on a 7-0 run and led 11-3 with 14:48 to play in the first. The Cougars never led in the game.
"We have to start the game with more urgency," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "This is the second or third game this season where we have come out sluggish and settling for jump shots. That's something we have to grow from and do better with."
Western Illinois connected on 58 percent (29-50) of its shots and drained a season-high 12 three-pointers in improving to 3-4.
"I give Western a lot of credit," Harris said. "We knew they were a good team coming in. They have had a pretty challenging schedule."
WIU led by 13 at half after a three-pointer by Zion Young just before the buzzer made it 37-24. The Leathernecks stretched the lead to as many as 35 points in the second half.
David McFarland led the Cougars with 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting, including two three-pointers. Christian Ellis scored 10 points and led SIUE with six rebounds. Ellis' 10 points gave him 500 for his SIUE career.
Kobe Webster led Western Illinois with 22 points. He hit four three-pointers. Isaac Johnson scored 20. C.J. Duff and Brandon Gilbeck each scored 10 points. Gilbeck, who came into the game third in the NCAA in blocked shots per game, added nine rebounds and six blocked shots.
"Gilbeck had us off balance around the rim early," Harris said. "He had five blocks at the half. He made us hesitate."
SIUE returns home to face SIU Carbondale Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
"It's business as usual for us," Harris said. "It's a process. A loss by 25 or a loss by one point is all the same. We have to work on us. We have to work on being better and taking another step forward. We have a great opportunity to do that on Saturday."