Eastern Illinois used a 16-2 run over the first 4:29 of the second half Saturday to pull away from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in a college men’s basketball game. The Panthers went on to a 60-46 win to claim first place in the Ohio Valley Conference West Division.
Eastern Illinois improved to 9-13 overall and 6-4 in OVC play. SIUE dropped to 4-18 overall and 1-9 in the OVC.
The Panthers carried a 22-20 lead into the second half before essentially closing out the game before the first media timeout in the second period.
The second-half surge negated strong individual performances by the Cougars. Carlos Anderson led SIUE with his first career double-double. He scored 10 points and hauled in 11 rebounds. Josh White tied for the team lead in scoring with a career-high 10 points, and Mike Chandler grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds of his own.
SIUE dominated EIU on the glass, outrebounding the Panthers 48-33, to tie its season high in rebounding. The Cougars grabbed 21 offensive rebounds, which turned into 16 second chance points.
“We did some good things on the defensive end and did a phenomenal job on the boards, but we just couldn’t get shots to go in the rim,” SIUE coach Jon Harris said. “Some of that is us, but you have to give Eastern a lot of credit for that.”
The Cougars struggled from the floor, finishing with a season-low .274 field goal percentage. The Cougars connected on 17 of 62 shots for the game.
“Sometimes you aren’t going to make your shots,” Harris added. “You just have to be that much better defensively.”
EIU finished the game 22 of 52 (42.3 percent) from the field, but knocked down 50 percent (13 of 26) of its shots in the second half. The Cougars turned the ball over 16 times, which turned into 11 points for the Panthers.
“A few too many turnovers was probably the difference,” Harris said. “When you’re struggling on offense, you have to give yourself every opportunity to get a basket.”
Trae Anderson led all scorers with 19 points for the Panthers. Cornell Johnston scored 14 points while Demetrius McReynolds and Joe Kuligoski each scored nine points.
SIUE now has a week between games. The Cougars will continue their four-game home stand with a Saturday game against Tennessee-Martin. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m.
SIUE 87, Eastern Illinois 75
Five SIUE women’s basketball players scored in double figures Saturday as the Cougars defeated Eastern Illinois in Edwardsville for their sixth straight victory.
The win also matched SIUE’s best start in the Ohio Valley Conference at 9-1, equaling the start from last season. SIUE women’s basketball, 14-9 overall, will now have a week between games before facing UT Martin at home next Saturday at 2 p.m.
“It’s great to have a week off before UT Martin comes,” said SIUE coach Paula Buscher. “I think this will be good to get rejuvenated and ready to go for next weekend.”
Shronda Butts led the SIUE offense with 20 points and six steals. Donshel Beck recorded her third double-double of the season with 16 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Gwen Adams scored 14 and added three blocks. CoCo Moore was next with 12 points and five assists. Lauren White added 11 points and four steals.
The Cougars shared the ball well with a team-best 21 assists for the season. Butts and Beck each had six while Moore added five.
Eastern Illinois, 1-21 overall and 0-10 in the OVC, had a brief two-point lead 23 seconds into the game but couldn’t match the Cougars on offense. Halle Stull led the Panthers off the bench with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
SIUE held a 45-35 lead at halftime and fought off the Panthers as they came within four at 68-64 with 7:52 to play.
“The biggest piece is that at times we backed off and played a little softer when we had a big lead,” said Buscher. “When our defensive intensity jumps up, that leads into some offense for us.”
The free throw line was a key for the Cougars, which hit 21 of 28 for the game. Butts was 12 of 17 to lead SIUE. Eastern Illinois shot 8 of 11 from the line as a team.
Buscher said towards the end rebounds were a big key.
“I told them to keep playing and trust your fundamentals,” Buscher said. “This isn’t a complicated game and sometimes we make it complicated.”