Burak Eslik scored 30 points while Jalen Henry and Christian Ellis each turned in double-doubles, helping SIUE snap a six-game losing streak with an 85-67 win over Missouri S&T on Wednesday at Vadalabene Center.
Playing its final nonconference game of the year, SIUE improved to 5-9 overall.
“I thought our guys did a tremendous job from start to finish,” SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. “It is one of the few times we have done that this year.”
Eslik finished 9 for 16 from the field and drained five three-pointers on his way to the second 30-plus point outing of his career.
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“I thought (Burak) did a good job defensively, and he wasn’t worried about his shots,” Harris said. “He actually passed up some shots and let the game come to him.”
Henry scored 20 points and grabbed a career-best 12 rebounds for the second double-double of his season and career. Ellis scored 10 points and hauled in a career-high 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. Carlos Anderson added 16 points for SIUE.
“It was a well-rounded effort,” Harris added. “With those two guys getting double-doubles, it was great. Offensively, we have a talented team. We haven’t always shown that, but we have a lot of capable scorers.”
Eslik scored 20 of his points in the first half, helping SIUE to a 45-26 advantage at the break. The Cougars connected on 55.2 percent (16-29) of their shots in the first half after beginning the contest with a 10-0 run and finished at 47.5 percent (28-59) for the game.
SIUE held Missouri S&T to just 28.6 percent shooting for the first half and 32.8 percent (22-67) for the game. The Miners came into the game averaging 91 points per game. The Cougars outrebounded Missouri S&T 49-34. The 49 rebounds are a season-high, and it is the seventh time this season that SIUE has pulled in at least 40 rebounds.
“We talked about our defensive intensity and being able to maintain that for two halves,” Harris said. “We did a tremendous job on the backboards.”
The Miners were led by Telloy Simon’s 16 points. Randy Holmes and Quinn Poythress each scored 12 points.
The Cougars open Ohio Valley Conference play with Tennessee Tech Saturday at home. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. It is the second half of a doubleheader with the women’s team.
“The biggest thing for us was to find a way to get this win and build some momentum going into the OVC opener,” Harris added.