PULLMAN, Wash. – A career-high 24 points from David McFarland wasn't enough as Washington State defeated SIUE 89-73 in the second game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
SIUE, along with seven other teams, will now travel to Las Vegas for two tournament games over the weekend.
SIUE dropped to 2-7 with the loss. Washington State improved to 7-3 and a perfect 6-0 at home.
The SIUE Cougars shot 44.6 percent from the game, including shooting 47 percent (15-32) during the second half, but landed just 6 or 17 free throw attempts.
Both teams turned the ball over 16 times, a season high for SIUE. Washington State turned SIUE's 16 turnovers into 28 points.
"On the road you can't turn the ball over and you have to make free throws," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "We also missed six or seven layups. That's the difference in the game."
Washington State connected on 50.9 percent (27-53) of its shots and 28 of 33 free throw attempts.
"They shot 33 free throws," Harris added. "We're fouling a little too much. But when we get there we have to convert. We are inconsistent at the free throw line."
McFarland matched his career-best with 24 points for the second time this season. He was 10-14 from the field and 4 of 8 from three-point range.
"David was great," Harris said. "In terms of athleticism and ability he's capable of playing in this league. He did some really good things on both sides of the ball tonight. His confidence is soaring right now."
Harris said the team was better in the second half. After trailing by 14 at the break, SIUE stayed within two of Washington State in the second period.
"We were a little bit more aggressive on both ends," he said. "We held them to 44 percent shooting in the second half. We did some good things."
"We're taking steps in some areas," Harris said. "We have to be more consistent. It isn't easy to stay consistent when you're losing games, but we have a pretty resilient group."
SIUE next plays CSUN Saturday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Tipoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. CT. Time and opponent for SIUE's Sunday game will be dependent on Saturday's outcome.
"We have a good opportunity in Vegas to finish this thing off the right way and to get a little momentum going into the holiday," Harris added.