On Senior Night, it was a sophomore and a junior who paced the SIUE attack. Kris Davis and Tim Johnson combined to score 43 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a hot shooting night from Tennessee State.
The Tigers downed the Cougars 83-73 in Ohio Valley Conference men’s basketball at Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars suffered their second consecutive loss and fell to 9-15 overall and 5-9 in the OVC. Tennessee State improved to 16-11 overall and 10-4 in the OVC.
“I thought we battled for most of the game,” SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. “We just didn’t get enough stops.”
The 83 scored by Tennessee State matches the most points allowed by the Cougars this season. Austin Peay scored 83 last Saturday, and No. 15 Missouri scored 83 in the season opener.
Davis tied his career high with 25 points. He went 10 of 16 from the floor, also tying his career high for field goals made.
“I thought he did a tremendous job as far as scoring, attacking, making the right reads, and getting the basketball to where it’s supposed to go,” Forrester said of Davis.
Johnson established a new career high with 18 points. He was 6 of 11 from the field, including 2 of 4 from three-point range. Johnson set his previous career-high with 17 points Saturday and has averaged 14.6 points a game over his last three games.
“(Johnson) is scoring in different ways. He’s getting on the glass for offensive boards and scoring off the dribble,” Forrester said. “He’s knocking down some jump shots, and we do need that. And he’s guarding one of the best perimeter players night in and night out.”
Mark Yelovich, playing in his final home game in an SIUE uniform, scored 12 points and added five rebounds. Yelovich scored eight points in the second half.
“He’s put a lot of mileage in, and he has helped our program become a better program,” Forrester said of the senior.
Tennessee State shot a season-high 57.7 percent (30-52), including 66.7 percent (14-21) during the second half. The Tigers also turned in a season-best performance from long range. The Tigers cashed in on 10 of 15 (66.7 percent) three-point attempts for the game. The 10 three-pointers set a season-high for a Cougar opponent.
The first half saw the lead change five times and the scored tied 13 times. The Cougars led by as many as 13 when a pair of free throws from Johnson made it 39-32 with 3:56 to play before the break. Tennessee State drained four three-pointers (two by Jordan Cyphers and two by Patrick Miller) to close the half on a 12-2 run and lead 44-41.
SIUE never led in the second half but tied the score 51-51 on a Davis jumper with 15:15 left. Tennessee State built its lead to 11 three different times during the half. It was 66-56 Tigers with 9:38 to play when Johnson reeled off a 7-0 personal run to cut the advantage to three points (66-63) with 7:59 left.
“As a team I thought we played well for a while,” Yelovich said. “They’re a good team–one of the better teams in our conference.”
The Tigers proceeded on a 10-2 run to make it 76-65 with 3:50 to play.
Kellen Thornton led four TSU players in double figures. Thornton scored 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds to tie with three other players for game-high honors. Cyphers and Robert Covington each scored 18 points. Miller turned in the double-double of 17 points and 11 assists for the Tigers.
Aside from Yelovich, Derian Shaffer, Reggie Reed, and Zeke Schneider also played their final home games for SIUE. Shaffer scored eight points and pulled in seven rebounds. Reed scored two points and added two assists.
SIUE finishes the regular season with three road games beginning with the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters game Saturday. The Cougars will meet Central Arkansas in a 4:30 p.m. game in Conway, Ark.
Recap Provided By SIUE Athletics