Southern Illinois University Edwardsville came up one shot shy and one point short in its narrow loss to the University of Tennessee-Martin on Saturday afternoon at the Vadalabene Center.
The Skyhawks (7-14, 2-6 OVC) fended off the Cougars 70-69. SIUE dropped to 7-12 overall and 3-5 in the OVC.
“No doubt, it’s a tough way to lose,” SIUE head coach Jon Harris said of the one-point decision. “We are understanding what it takes to win, but we aren’t quite there yet.
Daniel Kinchen’s shot just before the buzzer wouldn’t go in, and the Skyhawks escaped with their win.
“UT-Martin came out with tremendous energy,” Harris said. “We hit 10 3-pointers in the first half, so it was unreal that we were only up by three points at half. But they were shooting a lot of layups.”
Jalen Henry scored a team-high 21 points and collected five rebounds and four assists. David McFarland punched in 18 points, 15 on five first-half 3-pointers.
“David is doing some good things and growing on the defensive end,” Harris said. “Jalen (Henry) bounced back from Thursday’s game, but we still need more from him.”
SIUE’s defense held UT-Martin scoreless for nearly 5:30 after the Skyhawks had forged in front 66-62 with 7:54 to go. Yet the Cougars could only muster five points in that stretch before the visitors regained the lead with 2:29 remaining.
Henry’s rebound basket gave SIUE a 69-68 advantage with 2:10 to play. Fatodd Lewis, of UT-Martin, scored with 11.7 seconds remaining, and the Skyhawks went on top for good.
“It’s a process,” Harris said. “We are playing better and are so much farther along this year. It sounds crazy, but sometimes it’s easier to learn from losses than wins.”
Delfincko Bogan’s 21 points led UT Martin. Teammate Dominique Williams supplied 14 points and 11 rebounds.
SIUE will play Tennessee State in Nashville at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Freed-Hardeman 92, LU-Belleville 90
Lindenwood University-Belleville lost a road American Midwest Conference matchup against the Freed-Hardeman Lions 92-90 on Saturday.
Lindenwood’s Sean McGee nailed a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to make the score 91-89. The Lions (6-14, 3-9) were fouled and made one of two free throws with five seconds left to make it 92-89. The Lynx were then fouled and made one of two free throws in return for the final margin.
Senior guard Martavian Payne had another impressive game with a team-leading 34 points for the Lynx (8-12, 6-7).
The Lynx will now return home for a 7:30 p.m. game Thursday against the No. 7 Columbia College Cougars (19-1, 11-1), who are riding a 10-game win streak.