Southern Illinois University Edwardsville continues its season-long four-game home stand with Eastern Illinois in a men’s basketball game Saturday.
SIUE (4-17, 1-8) meets Eastern Illinois (8-13, 5-4) in an Ohio Valley Conference tilt at 5 p.m. in the friendly confines of the Vadalabene Center. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Midwest. Pat Parris and Joe Pott, the voice of the Cougars, will call the game. On radio at WSIE-FM (88.7), Sam Levitt will call the game. Levitt is the voice of the Gateway Grizzles baseball team.
The Panthers hold a 9-3 edge in the series. Eastern Illinois knocked SIUE from the OVC tournament last March.
The Cougars dropped a home game Thursday night when Southeast Missouri went on a 19-4 run late in the second half and defeated SIUE 58-51 at the Vadalabene Center.
The Redhawks improved to 5-16 overall and 2-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference while the Cougars dropped to 4-17 overall and 1-8 in the OVC.
SIUE men’s basketball head coach Jon Harris said he will continue to push his team to get better one step at a time.
“We have a lot of guys who are capable of doing things,” said Harris. “It’s a good problem, but it’s a problem because we can’t play everybody. We have a lot of guys doing good things. They are competitive in practice and push each other, and we have to find a way to be better come game time.”
SIUE went up 45-38 with 6:49 to play in the game on a pair of free throws by Burak Eslik, who led all scorers with 16 points. The Redhawks answered with the next nine points, gaining its first lead of the contest since midway through the first half. Trey Kellum connected on a pair of free throws with 3:15 left that put Southeast up 47-45.
The Cougars tied the game 47-47 with 3:01 left on two free throws from Carlos Anderson.
Southeast Missouri took the lead for good on a three-point play by Kellum with 2:08 to play. Kellum would finish the game with 14 points. Jamaal Calvin was Southeast’s leading scorer with 15 points, including six free throws in the final 41 seconds of the game.
“The biggest thing was that we let their pressure take us out of what we were trying to do,” said Harris.
The Redhawks took advantage of their opportunities at the free throw line, hitting 23 of 28 for the game and 21 of 25 in the second half alone.
Michael Chandler turned in a shot-blocking clinic with a career-high eight blocks. Chandler tied the school record set by Doug Taylor during the 2007-2008 season. As a team, SIUE finished with 10 blocks, one shy of the school record and the most for the Division I era.
“Mike has great instincts other than being blessed with length and athleticism,” said Harris. “He’s doing some really great things for us and does a great job of getting vertical and blocking shots without fouling.”
Keenan Simmons was the only other player scoring in double figures for the Cougars with 10 points.
SIUE will look to get back on the winning track Saturday when the Cougars take on Eastern Illinois at the Vadalabene Center. Tip-off time is 5 p.m.
“Our guys are frustrated because this means a lot to them,” said Harris. “They work hard and they have good attitudes throughout the season, but we have to continue to stay the course and find a way to be better Saturday.”