College Sports

Campbell hands SIUE Cougars third straight loss

By the numbers, it looked like the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville men's basketball team did everything it needed to do to defeat Campbell Tuesday night at Vadalabene Center.

They shot a respectable 43 percent from the field, got 26 points off the bench, 36 in the paint, and out-rebounded the Fighting Camels by a margin of 2-to-1.

But the Cougars got tripped up on 13 turnovers in a 77-74 loss.

"The turnovers really were the difference in the game, to be honest," said SIUE's first-year coach Jon Harris. "Thirteen is not a horrible number, but they play an unorthodox defense, keep you off balance and really do a good job of capitalizing on your mistakes.

"To turn the ball over in your own gym ... that's tough."

Campbell (2-2) had lost its 12 previous games on the road, but the Fighting Camels got over the hump on freshman Chris Clemons' game-high 26 points and team-high six rebounds. He scored nine points during an 18-4 run that turned an eight-point Cougar lead into a five-point Campbell advantage.

"They have a good team and good players, but he was a difference maker for them," Harris said of Clemons. "He shoots at a really high clip -- he takes tough shots and he makes tough shots."

The Cougars (1-3) suffered their third loss in a row as they prepare to travel to Indiapolis for a game with Butler in the historic Hinkle Field House. The Bulldogs (3-1) were dropped from the AP and USA Today Top 20 after their loss to Miami at the Puerto Rico Tip Off Sunday.

Key Moment

The Cougars had narrowed the lead to 75-73 when sophomore guard C.J. Carr was sent to the foul line with a chance to tie. He missed the front end, then Kyre' Hamer scored to put Campbell back up by three.

SIUE called a timeout to set up the tying shot with 20.4 seconds left, but Burak Eslik missed a close-range shot off the glass.

"We ran a play trying to get a 3, but the 3 wasn't there," Harris said. "You don't have to have a 3 at that point, but I thought if we had a look we'd take it. Then you try to put your head down, take a 2, and foul, and see where it goes from there. It just didn't work out that way."

Eslik's missed shot rolled out of bounds off a Campbell player, giving the Cougars another chance to tie, but Carr missed the 3-pointer with pressure from D.J. Mason.

The Cougars shot 51.6 percent from the field in the first half, but just 35.3 in the second. They also were just four-of-16 from three-point range.

"I told the guys you never look at the game in the last minute," Harris said. "It wasn't CJ's free throw, it wasn't the shot at the buzzer, it was the 39 minutes before all of that happened that we lost the game."

Key Performances

Four players reached double figures for SIUE. Carr led with 14, Grant Fiorentinos had 13, Eslik had 12 and Alton's Carlos Anderson had 11. Yemi Makanjuloa was limited to 14 minutes of playing time, but had a game-high 11 rebounds for the Cougars.

Clemons hit four 3-point baskets as part of an eight-for-14 shooting night that led to his 26 points. Troy Harper scored 12 for Campbell, which shot 52 percent on the night.

Todd Eschman: 618-239-2540, @tceschman