Collinsville matched O’Fallon goal for goal, but the Panthers’ hot hand from beyond the 3-point arc made the difference in their 59-52 Southwestern Conference win at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Saturday.
O’Fallon hit six 3-pointers early to open a 13-point lead at the half. It was another 3-point shot by Jalen Hodge in the third quarter that put the brakes on a Collinsville rally just when it looked like the Kahoks would make a game of it.
“Collinsville covered the 3 a little bit better after the half, and we didn’t run our offense as well,” O’Fallon coach Brian Muniz said. “When you shoot that well in the first half, sometimes you think you can do more than you can in the second half, and you take some bad shots.
“But they stepped up their defense and made a game of it for sure.”
The Panthers led 35-22 at the intermission, but with a 19-point third quarter, Collinsville closed the gap to four points.
Sophomore Ray’Sean Taylor, who finished with a game-high 25, had nine points during the run, including his own long 3-pointer.
But O’Fallon opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to create enough cushion to play clock control.
Hodge led O’Fallon with 24 points. Teron Bowman added nine points, while Ronald Anthony, Robert Hayes and Nick Boone pitched in seven apiece.
In addition to Taylor’s 25, Collinsville got 11 points from Marshall Harrison.
Muniz credited the Kahoks for their resilience after digging an early hole.
“They have some size, and they’re athletic. I’m sure they think they can shoot the ball better, and I think they can, too,” he said. “If they shot as well in the first half as they did in the second, it would be a different story.”
The Panthers improved to 3-2 with the victory, part of a four-game Southwestern Conference slate at SIUE’s Vadalabene Center. Collinsville, which opened its season with four straight wins at the Marion Tournament, fell to 4-2.
Collinsville next faces East St. Louis at home Tuesday. The Panthers will go for their third win in a row at home against Granite City on Friday.