In the first half of their loss against Morehead State, SIU Edwardsville pulled down just nine total rebounds. Morehead State center Chad Posthumus had 15, by himself. The Eagles nearly double up the Cougars on the boards, but still needed to survive a late rally in a 68-64 win at home.
Posthumus tallied his first three rebounds within the first 36 seconds of the game, first off of a Kris Davis missed three pointer, then on the offensive end off a missed layup from Angelo Warner, then a missed putback from himself. Despite the rebounding issues, SIU Edwardsville led by one with with 5:40 to play in the first half, before the Eagles went on an 11-2 run to end the half. The lead would be 11 with 9:47 to play in the game before Davis scored sparked a mini-run to pull the Cougars back within four. The Cougars would get the lead to four on multiple occasions down the stretch, but could never get within a single bucket of the Eagles down the stretch.
Despite 10 offensive boards, Posthumus scored just 9 points on the night. As a team, Morehead converted 19 offensive rebounds into just 11 2nd chance points. The rebounding performance by Posthumus was the program’s best since current Denver Nuggets’ forward Kenneth Faried pulled down 21 boards in March of 2011. Milton Chavis would lead the Eagles in scoring with 16 points, but shot just 6-15 from the field. Warner added 14, and Drew Kelly 12 for Morehead State.
Maurice Wiltz returned to the lineup from injury for the Cougars tonight, scoring a team-high 16 points on 6-9 shooting from the field, 4-5 from 3-point range, in 18 minutes of play. The 16 points was a career high for Wiltz, who has missed the past four games due to injury. Davis’ 14 and 10 from Derian Shaffer were the only other players to finish in double digits. No Cougar pulled down more than four rebounds on the night, as SIUE was outrebounded 44-23 by Morehead State.
Morehead State’s turnover issue reared it’s head again tonight, as the Eagles committed 18 turnovers. Just 2 of those turnovers were steals by SIUE, meaning most were mistakes from the Eagles not caused by the Cougars defense. But the fouling issue Morehead State has had this season was remedied tonight, as Morehead State was sent to the line more than the Cougars, a rarity this season. All said, a solid win for Morehead State that likely can’t afford too many bad losses in the East division.
Despite losing, it was a better effort from the Cougars than we’ve seen at times this season, as the Cougars continue to recover from a series of injuries this year. Mark Yelovich played 18 minutes off the bench tonight, but was mostly a non-factor going just 1-6 from the field. After turning over the ball just five times in the first half, the Cougars had nine in the second. SIUE head coach Lennox Forrester said of the performance, “”We had it within reach, and our execution level down the stretch wasn’t very good. Being mentally-tough down the stretch has to be improved.”
SIU Edwardsville completes their road swing with a trip to Eastern Kentucky (11-3, 1-0) on Saturday. Morehead State hosts Eastern Illinois. (3-12, 0-2)