JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – SIUE men's basketball dropped its third consecutive Ohio Valley Conference game Saturday, falling on the road at Jacksonville State 90-54.
"They are a really good team," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "They scratched, clawed and outfought us tonight. They outrebounded us by 18 in the first half. That set the tone."
The Cougars fell to 5-11 overall and 1-3 in the OVC. Jacksonville State improved to 12-5 and 4-0.
"This is the top of the league right here," Harris said of JSU. "This is what we're chasing and it's a good lesson for us."
Each team opened with a layup to tie the score at 2-2 before Jacksonville State took control. The Gamecocks scored the next 12 points and led 14-2 with 13:11 to play in the first half. The closest the Cougars would get the rest of the way out was eight points following an 8-2 Cougars run.
"They played the game the right way," Harris added about the Gamecocks. "They dominated the game. You can't sugarcoat that."
The Gamecocks led 38-24 at halftime and the Cougars never could close the gap to single digits in the second half. JSU swelled its lead to as many as 39 in the second half.
"You have to learn from it," Harris said. "There are a lot of lessons to be taken from this game. You have to take it on the chin and grow from it."
Jacksonville State controlled the paint and the glass. The Gamecocks outscored SIUE 48-18 from inside the Paint and finished with a 47-24 edge in rebounds. The Cougars were 17-56 (30.4 percent) from the field, while Jacksonville State knocked down 60 percent (36-60) of its shots.
Jason Burnell led Jacksonville State with 17 points. Jacara Cross scored 15 and Marlon Hunter scored 14.
SIUE returns to Vadalabene Center for games against Austin Peay Thursday and Murray State Saturday.
"We have an opportunity with the home stand next week," Harris said. "We have two challenging games, but two winnable games next week. We have to get back to playing the way we were and we'll be fine."