Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chicago State Earns Near Wire-To-Wire Win Over Southern Illinois 88-84

CHICAGO, Illinois  --   Chicago State trailed for only 19 seconds in their 88-84 victory over Southern Illinois on Saturday (Nov. 30) afternoon at the Jones Convocation Center. The win is the first for the Cougars over Southern Illinois in school history. It's also the first win for Chicago State over a Missouri Valley Conference team since defeating Northern Iowa on Dec. 21, 2002.

Six Cougars finished in double-figures. Senior Quinton Pippen (Hamburg, Ark./Hamburg) was the high-scorer for the Cougars with 17 points thanks to five 3-pointers. Senior Nate Duhon (Lansing, Mich./Sexton) added 15 points on 7-of-8 free throws. Senior Corey Gray (Houston, Texas/Hightower) came off the bench to play 29 minutes. He added 15 points and recorded zero turnovers while handling the point for most of the game.

"When you look at the box score and see six guys in double-figures, that's the team we want to be," Chicago State head coach Tracy Dildy said. "That balanced scoring and winning the rebounding battle was huge today."

A 10-2 start by the Cougars helped put the Salukis on their heels right out of the gates. The Cougars built their lead to as many as 13 in the first half before SIU climbed back in the game. Two quick 3-pointers off the bench by SIU's Mike Balogun, who finished with 21 points, helped keep SIU in the game. Pippen nailed a deep 3-pointer in literally the final second of the first half to give the Cougars a 39-33 lead at the break after SIU cut their deficit to three points.

Senior Matt Ross (Dixon, Ill./Dixon) made a 3-pointer for the Cougars to open the scoring in the second half, but three Chicago State turnovers and a pair of missed 3-pointers followed to give SIU an opening to take the lead with 10 straight points. However SIU's 43-42 lead at the 16:54 mark would be their only advantage of the game. Junior Clarke Rosenberg (Skokie, Ill./Evanston Township) followed with a layup off a missed basket to put the Cougars up again. It was Rosenberg with a pair of free throws with 11:43 remaining to make it a 55-49 Chicago State lead. The Salukis tied the game at 57 nearly two minutes later on a 3-pointer by Balogun. The Cougars were able to balloon the lead to eight points at 75-67 with 4:05 remaining thanks to a 3-point play by senior Eddie Denard (Chicago, Ill./Foreman). SIU cut the deficit to a single possession (77-74) with 2:19 in the contest but that's as close as SIU would get. The Cougars made 9-of-10 free throws over the game's final three minutes to ice the contest.

"When they took the lead, we didn't panic, not even for a second," Dildy said. "We wouldn't have won this game last year. We rebuilt the lead and then made all of our free throws down the stretch."

The Cougars shot 15-of-17 in the second half at the free throw line after making just 5-of-12 attempts in the first half.

Balogun made 5-of-8 3-pointers for SIU on the day despite being just 1-of-11 on the season entering the game. Desmar Jackson led SIU with 22 points.

Rosenberg (13), Denard (11) and Ross (11) rounded out the six Cougars who finished in double-digits.

The Cougars won the rebounding battle 32-28 including an 11-6 advantage in offensive boards. The home team used that advantage to hold an 11-3 edge in second chance points.

SIU falls to 2-6. Chicago State is now 3-4. The Cougars will look to defeat another MVC team on Wednesday (Dec. 4) when Chicago State heads to Illinois State for a 7:05 p.m. CT tip. The game can be heard on WVON 1690 AM with Emil Williams Jr. on the call.

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