MARTIN, Tenn. – It was a tale of two halves for SIUE men's basketball Saturday, and a strong first half wasn't enough to carry the Cougars to victory. UT Martin defeated SIUE 85-69 at the Elam Center.
The Cougars slipped to 6-14 overall and 2-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference. UT Martin improved to 6-13 and 1-7 in OVC play.
After going down 14-8 early in the first half, SIUE used a 12-0 run to pull ahead and never trailed again in the half. The Skyhawks trimmed the Cougars' lead to 28-26 before SIUE scored seven straight, capped off by a Treavon Martin layup, for its largest lead of the game at nine points.
SIUE led 40-35 at halftime. The Cougars connected on 55.6 percent (15-27) of their first-half field goal attempts and were 5-10 from three-point range.
After the half, a renewed UT Martin team scored the first four points to cut the lead to one and force SIUE into a timeout.
Delfincko Bogan buried a three-pointer from the right side with 17:38 to play which gave UT Martin a 44-42 lead. The Skyhawks never trailed again in the game.
UTM was 19-29 (65.5 percent) from the field in the second period including going 6 for 10 from beyond the three-point arc.
"They made a run," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "We didn't start the half with the right mindset defensively. This is a team that can put you to sleep with how they play. They are slow, methodical on offense and their zone can get you off balance."
The Cougars knocked down just 39.3 percent (11-28) of their shots and were just 3 for 12 from three-point range.
"It's about our defense," Harris said. "We didn't make some shots in the second half, but we still shot 40 percent. That's not too far out of the ordinary. The reality is we quit guarding."
UTM's Quintin Dove scored 25 to lead all scorers. Derek Hawthorne, Jr. scored 20. Fatodd Lewis scored 10 points and led the way with eight rebounds for the Skyhawks.
David McFarland paced SIUE with 19 points. Cameron Williams was 4-6 from three-point range for 12 points. Brandon Jackson scored 11 points. Martin scored a career-high 11 points and led SIUE with a career-best eight rebounds.
UT Martin outrebounded SIUE 34-27.
"We settled for some shots, we took some that we shouldn't have," Harris added. "They had four more offensive boards and got 14 second chance points."
The Cougars return home for a pair of games at Vadalabene Center. SIUE will play host to Morehead State Thursday and Eastern Kentucky Saturday.
"We have two very challenging teams next week," Harris said. "We just have to get back to work. All we can do is keep pushing."