EDWARDSVILLE — The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars (0-1) will play their first home game Wednesday against a team they have not met in 27 years.
The Cougars will meet the Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks (1-0) at 7 p.m. in the Vadalabene Center. The game will be broadcast on WSIE (88.7) FM.
SIUE opened the season with an 83-69 loss on the road at No. 15 Missouri in Columbia, Mo. The game against Missouri marked the fifth time SIUE had met a DivisionI opponent ranked in the Top 25. The Cougars are now 0-5 in such games. Missouri in 2008 was the first ranked opponent.
Four of the five games came on the road. Last season SIUE lost to No. 10 Murray State in Edwardsville.
The Cougars took 69 shots in the game at Missouri. SIUE averaged of 72.5 field goals attempts per game in the two exhibition wins. In the Greenville win, SIUE launched 84 attempts. They tried another 61 in the MacMurray win.
Tim Johnson and Maurice Wiltz combined to score 20 points in the loss at Missouri. The duo scored 42 of the Cougars' 84 points in the in over Greenville. Johnson led all players with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Wiltz scored 15 while adding a team-high five assists. Both players sat out last season after Division I transfers.
Michael Messer returned to game action this year and promptly scored 13 points in the loss at Missouri. Messer was hit a pair of field goals, including a three-pointer and was 8-for-8 from the free throw line in 18 minutes of work.
Messer missed the majority of last season after having surgery on his right wrist. Messer originally injured the wrist during the preseason. He played just seven games, and received a medical redshirt following the season.
Mark Yelovich was held scoreless in the loss to Missouri. It was the first time in his career that he has failed to score at least a point. 0-5 from the fied, including 0-2 from long range.He previously scored just two points in a loss at Evansville as a freshman during the 2008-09 season.
Yelovich has 1,212 points and is fourth on the school's all-time scoring list.
Coach Lennox Forrester is now 1-5 in season openers during his time at SIUE. The Cougars haven't started a season 1-0 since defeating Harris Stowe 90-61 to open the 2007-08 season.
SIUE and Western Illinois have met six previous times, but the last meeting came more than 27 years ago. The Leathernecks hold a 5-1 advantage in the series.
Western Illinois is a member of the Summit League.
The Cougars are 3-11 against current Summit League members under Forrester. That includes a 2-5 record against South Dakota, which was not a league member when SIUE played it. South Dakota was a tranisition school with SIUE and has recently joined the Summit League.
The Fighting Leathernecks are coming off a season-opening win Saturday against Wabash, a non-Division I opponent. Senior Terrell Parks led the way in the win with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Western Illinois returns six players, including three starters from a 2011-12 team that finished 18-15 during the year. Last year's team fell 52-50 in overtime to South DaSaturday's game against No. 15 Missouri marked the fifth time SIUE had met a Division I opponent ranked in the Top 25. The Cougars are now 0-5 in such games. Missouri in 2008 was the first ranked opponent. Four of the five games came on the road. Last season SIUE lost to No. 10/12 Murray State in Edwardsville. kota State in the championship game of the Summit League Tournament. The Fighting Leathernecks then fell to Oregon State in the CBI Tournament.
Senior Ceola Clark is the top returner for Western Illinois. Clark led the team last year with a scoring average of 13.3. Parks led last year's team with 9.1 rebounds per game.
NOTES: The Cougars have no freshmen on their roster this season, making them one of just six NCAA Division I schools that have no freshmen. That includes redshirt freshmen as well as true freshmen. The five other schools that do no
have any freshmen are UAB, Ohio, Portland State, Savannah State, and Valparaiso. ... Of SIUE's 10 wins in 2011-12, eight came against true Division I opponents-the most
wins SIUE has achieved against Division I opponents. The Cougars hadn't previously won more than three games against true Division I opponents in a single season. ... The 2012-13 SIUE roster features two sets of teammates who played at the same high school. Kris Davis and Derian Shaffer attended Cass Technical in Detroit, though two years apart. Kyle Heck and Zeke Schneider attended
Metamora (Ill.), also two years apart.