Cougars win again
The SIUE Cougars put a stomping onto the Robert Morris-Springfield Eagles Sunday night at the Vadalabene Center, ending in a score of 104-56. Robert Morris-Springfield moves to 5-7 after the tough loss.
Donivine Stewart scored 22 points in 27 minutes. He also recorded three assists and a game high five steals.
In the middle of the first half, SIUE went on a 19-6 run, going perfect from the free throw line at 6-6. They connected on 3-4 three point shots while holding the Eagles to making 2 of their 9 attempts, going 0-3 behind the three point arc.
The SIUE defense caused the Eagles to commit 20 turnovers on the night, leading to 31 points for the Cougars. Whenever a steal or offensive rebound allowed, several Cougars would run the floor, not allowing the Eagles to get set on defense.
The Eagles did themselves no favors on the defensive end, consistently not closing out on the perimeter guards. That lead to 12 made three point baskets on 24 attempts.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Head Coach Lennox Forrester wanted to give his starting five considerable rest. He was completely justified in this decision as his bench contributed 41 points on the night.
Team leader, Kris Davis, sat out the last seven minutes of the first half, after falling to the court while contending a shot on the defensive end. The fall did not keep him from playing in the second half where he played another eight minutes. As the game wrapped Davis had 11 points.
Overall, SIUE had 7 out of 10 players scoring in double digits. Starters Michael Messer (13 points, 4 rebounds) and Jake Newton (11 points, 3 rebounds) each provided different scoring methods for the Cougars.
Messer found the finishing touch to his inside game, going 6-9 in the paint. He did so cleanly, not needing to shoot any free throws. Newton provided scoring from the perimeter and was able to spread the ball around the court, earning a game high 7 assists in the process.
Grant Fiorentinos also showed prowess in the paint. His post up moves earned him 12 points and 4 rebounds and sent him to the free throw line where he made good on both attempts.
Freshman Jalen Henry earned his points the hard way, attempting free throws 13 times in 13 minutes of play. He made 9 of them and amassed 7 rebounds along the way.
Free throw retribution
SIUE corrected its free throw troubles from the last game, going 24-31 (77.4%) on the night. Against Chicago State the Cougars went 19-35 (54.3%.) In close games that statistic will made an enormous difference between losing and having a great chance to win.
The Cougars also spread the ball around and found scorers at will. For SIUE 23 of the made baskets came off an assist from a teammate. Passing the ball well and finding open shooters will aid them well in conference play.
SIUE generally has only made 36.4% of those shots this year, so the Cougars have shown the importance of good shot selection.
The Robert Morris-Springfield Eagles (5-7, 0-0) only dressed 7 players for the game, all of them seeing more than 13 minutes of play.
Robert Calmese (23 points, 8 rebounds) provided consistency for the Eagles, continually driving to the side of the lane for layup attempts and looking to score when the offense was stagnant. Unfortunately, he also tied for a game & team high 5 turnovers, playing the entire game.
Fellow Eagle Brandel Griggs created shots for himself, totaling 10 points and 5 turnovers, but fouling out after 27 minutes of play.
The most consistent player for Robert Morris-Springfield was Reid David. He consistently played within the offense, dishing out a team high 4 assists and scoring 8 hard earned points. On defense he was able to grab 3 rebounds and contribute 3 blocks for his team.
With the win the Cougars end the nonconference schedule at 4-7 and are poised to challenge the tough OVC competition.
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars start the OVC schedule on Thursday, January 1st @ 3:15 PM CST. They host the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (7-7, 0-0) at the Vadalabene Center.