Eric Callison is an OVC Team Reporter covering the SIUE Cougars. We’re still looking for team reporters for every team! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join the OVC Ball team
While you were watching the siege warfare going down in Cape Girardeau, there was a slightly less thrilling game taking place in Jacksonville. The Gamecocks crawled back from a seven point second-half deficit to comfortably beat SIUE 61-52.
Jamal Hunter’s two blocks on an early first half SIUE possession seemed to take a swing at the Cougars’ confidence—and they certainly did something for Hunter. The Gamecocks’ big man earned his first career double-double (per the JSU radio broadcast), finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while also adding 7 blocks to his tally, over 35 minutes. He rendered SIUE’s Ray Lester and Keaton Jackson completely ineffective with his defensive presence in the post.
With SIUE playing a pretty stiff zone defense, he did everything one could ask for, and then some.
SIUE went on a 13-0 run at the end of the first half, and they continued where they left off in the second. Donivine Stewart, the top scorer in the contest (17 points) and the only Cougar in double figures, cashed in on three 3-point field goals over a span of just 58 seconds during that run. However, JSU answered with a stretch of their own, going on a 13-2 run over a span of almost 7 minutes during the middle of the second half. SIUE could not find a way to recover.
Neither team really impressed in this game, but JSU really stepped up their FG shooting in the second half, almost reaching 50% over the second half, while SIUE regressed to below 30% during the same period.
Late in the first half SIUE went to a zone. JSU struggled early to defeat it, but later figured it out. After taking the lead, JSU slowed down the game to a snail’s pace. The O/U for the game was 143. My hunch before the game was that if the game hit the over, SIUE would win, but that if it went under, the game would go to JSU. SIUE needs an up-tempo affair to stand any chance of winning games this year. This game only reaffirms this.
Contrary to the theme of SIUE’s earlier two contests in conference play, the officials were really letting the players play. The first foul of the game didn’t come until the 12:36 mark of the first half. There were only 31 fouls between the two teams in this game, compared to the 25 by EKU alone in Saturday’s matchup in Edwardsville. SIUE didn’t get to the line as much as normal, and they compounded that by going 50% from the line on their attempts.
Both teams continue their OVC campaigns this weekend. Jacksonville State (8-11, 2-2 OVC) hosts Eastern Illinois, while SIUE (4-12, 1-2) stays on the road and heads to Cookeville to face Tennessee Tech.