Cougars struggle to find winning ways
The Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville men’s basketball team’s season is underway, and the Cougars will be hoping for better results in the second-half of the season.
The Cougars have posted a 4-9 record and are 0-2 in conference play at the time of publication.
The Cougars dropped its season opener against Purdue 105-74. The Boilermakers took control of the game early on and by the half held a 52-32 lead. SIUE performed better in the second half, but couldn’t overcome Purdue. In the game, Julian Torres led the Cougars with 20 points. He also recorded five rebounds.
SIUE then dropped to 0-2 on the year, losing to Valparaiso 94-69.The Cougars struggled on offense with only two players scoring in double digits. Both Daniel Kinchin and Jalen Henry scored 21 points in the loss. Henry also recorded nine rebounds. The next highest scorer for SIUE was Justin Benton, with eight points.
Following back-to-back losses, the Cougars bounced back and claimed its first win of the season, defeating Stetson University 80-76. Kinchen led SIUE offensively with 23 points and five assists. Henry turned in another solid performance, adding 20 points and 13 rebounds.
The Cougars then dropped its next game, losing to Western Illinois University 69-67. SIUE started the game out strong and held a five-point lead at halftime, however, the Leathernecks would take control in the second frame and pull out a narrow win. While the Cougars only lost by two points, the team once again struggled on offense. Henry and Kinchen were the only players to break into double digits. Kinchen led the team with 26 points, while Henry scored 18.
The Cougars would continue to struggle over the next several games, falling in its next three games to Creighton, SIU Carbondale and Fort Wayne.
SIUE would find its winning form again on Dec. 6, knocking off Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Jaguars 82-81. The Cougars turned in their best shooting performance of the year, hitting 57 percent of its shots from the field. SIUE was led by Henry, who scored 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
SIUE would claim back-to-back wins for the first time on the year in the next game, knocking off South Alabama in a close game. The Jaguars would take a 44-37 lead into the half. In the second half, the Cougars fought back and Henry hit two foul shots with three seconds remaining to give SIUE the win. Henry led all scorers with 26 points; he also had 12 rebounds.
The Cougars would stretch its win streak to three games when SIUE defeated Chicago State 88-76. While the Cougars struggled on offense earlier in the season, this game saw four players score at least 15 points. SIUE was led by Henry and Christian Ellis, who each scored 19 points. Ellis also had eight assists. Kinchen scored 15 points for SIUE and Jaylen McCoy put up 17 points.
The Cougars then hit a rough patch, dropping games to Central Michigan, Austin Peay and Murray State.
The next home game for the Cougars will come on Jan. 11 against Belmont.