Mark Yelovich’s game-winning attempt from 25 feet away glanced off the front of the rim as time expired and Central Arkansas escaped with an 80-78 win over SIUE Saturday in the annual BracketBusters game.
SIUE, now 9-16 overall, led for the majority of the game.
Central Arkansas, now 10-16, went up 2-0 on a pair of free throws by Anthony Borden. Michael Messer hit the first of three three-point shots to make it 3-2 Cougars and SIUE didn’t trail again in the half. SIUE extended its lead to double digits when Ray Lester hit a turnaround jumper to make it 34-24 with 7:04 to play before halftime. Kris Davis gave SIUE its largest lead of the day at 40-29 with 4:00 to play in the first half. The Cougars led 43-36 at the break.
Jordan Harks and LaQuentin Miles each hit jumpers to open the second half before Robert Crawford tied the score at 43 with a three-pointer 2:28 seconds into the second half.
The Cougars pulled away again and a Tim Johnson three-pointer put SIUE back on top by five at 52-47 with 15:25 left. Crawford tied the score at 52 with 14:23 left. Johnson hit a jumper and a three-pointer to push the lead back to five at 57-52 with 13:54 left.
Johnson led all scorers with a career-high 22 points. It is the third consecutive game the junior has equaled or established his career-high in scoring. Johnson added a team-high seven rebounds. Since moving into the starting lineup four games ago, Johnson is averaging 16.5 points a game.
Yelovich scored 20 points. It was the third time this year and the 20th time in his career that Yelovich had scored at least 20 points. In three BracketBusters games Yelovich has averaged 24.7 points. Davis and Messer each added 15 points. Messer grabbed 15 rebounds.
Central Arkansas took its first lead of the second half with 4:43 to play on a jumper by Miles that made it 71-69. Miles made it a four-point lead with a jumper at 1:54 put UCA on top 77-73. Forrester called his team’s final timeout with 1:38 to play.
Following the timeout Davis pulled the Cougars within two at 77-75. SIUE then began fouling UCA in order to stop the clock. Miles hit a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to 79-75. Johnson banked in a three with seven seconds left to make it 79-78. Jarvis Garner hit one of two free throws with three seconds left to make it 80-78.
Miles led UCA with 20 points and nine rebounds. Garner added 19 points. Crawford scored 18.
SIUE finishes its regular season with a pair of road games.
Recap Provided By SIUE Athletics