SIUe held in for most of the first half and even led 18-17 with 8:30 left in the first. However, that would be the last time the Cougars would lead. The Mastodons extended their lead to 8 by halftime and outscored SIU Edwardsville 56-44 in the second half on their way to a 20 point blowout win.[divider] Game Recap [/divider]
Christian Salecich buried a three and cut the IPFW lead to one at 24-23 with just over five minutes to play in the first half. Once again SIUe was playing a good team tough, so naturally this game would end close like almost every Cougars game has this season.
Yet, after a 10-4 run to close at the first half, IPFW would go into the last 20 minutes very much in control.
The lead ballooned to twelve when Michael Kibiloski knocked down a triple and from that point on, SIUe never got back within single digits.
The Cougars made one last push to get back in to the game. After falling behind by 20 at 74-54, Kris Davis went on a tear hitting three straight buckets and a free throw to single handedly cut the lead down to 13 with still over 7 minutes to play.
However, a 10-0 run by the Mastodons put the game away for good.[divider] Post Game Thoughts [/divider]
First of all, let me say, IPFW is a solid mid-major. They will give EKU all they want and have already defeated two other OVC teams. If the Mastodons were in the Ohio Valley Conference West Division, they finish near the top.
With that said, I am beginning to realize why I was basically the only one who believed SIUe could challenge for a top spot in the west. They have played almost every team tough and while it is nice to say they have been right there to win these games, at some point you do have to win.
Again tonight, even with what seemed to be a little discrepancy in the number of fouls, SIUe was in the game after 20 minutes.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think SIUe was going to get the “W” tonight but I did think it would come down to the final four minutes. Even though it never felt like they had a real chance to win, if they could have kept this game within striking distance as well…who knows, right? Ray Lester played with foul trouble in the second half and that didn’t help the Cougars comeback chances very much.
Going forward, SIUe needs to focus on the record in parentheses, that conference record is all that is going to matter in a few weeks. So the these past ten games and the next few to follow should be looked at as preseason. If you win that’s great, if you lose but are competitive, oh well.
So, maybe SIUe lost more with Yellowvich than I originally thought. Maybe finishing 2nd in the west isn’t a realistic expectation anymore. Yet, don’t be surprised if they can pull off a few upsets in the OVC and land in Nashville.
This team will still make some noise in conference.