JAGUARS CAN’T OVERCOME HOT SHOOTING, FALL TO SIUE 82-81

For the third straight game, the IUPUI men’s basketball dropped a high scoring affair to their opponent. The Jaguars couldn’t contain a hot shooting SIU Edwardsville (2-6) team and lost at home, 82-81. The loss dropped the Jaguars record to 2-5, and was their first home loss of the season.

IUPUI had multiple looks to go ahead late, but #Jaylen Minnett# missed a three-point attempt with 10 seconds left and after SIUE missed three free throws in the closing seconds, the Jaguars were unable to get off a clean look as the final horn sounded.

To open the game, the IUPUI offense was firing on all cylinders. The Jaguars jumped out to a quick 14-9 lead on the strength of their frontcourt, getting multiple buckets from Aaron Brennan and Evan Hall. Throughout the first half, the Jaguars were able to get out transition, outscoring the Cougars 15-6 off of turnovers.

Overall, the Jaguars executed fairly well on offense, hitting 15-of-31 from the floor while using their interior play to outscore SIUE 18-12 in the paint. Brennan led the way in scoring for Jaguars, scoring 18 points in the first half. The defense, however, struggled to get stops to maintain the lead.

“I thought we got great looks from the outside, we were moving the ball well,” head coach Jason Gardner said. “We got looks inside, we got to the free throw line especially early on.”

Despite forcing 10 turnovers in the first half, the Jaguars allowed SIUE to shoot 14-of-22 (63.6%) from the floor, including 5-of-6 from behind the arc. Jalen Henry converted on 7-of-10 shots for 18 points in the first half to lead the Cougars. Overall, the hot shooting resulted in a 42-41 lead for the Cougars at the break.

“They had some really good looks and they made shots. They made some tough shots with our hands in their face,” Gardner said. “We gave up some that could have been more contested, but overall I think they just did a good job of knocking down their looks.”

The hot shooting carried into the second half as SIUE connected five times from distance in the opening minutes, stretching the margin out to 59-49. The Cougars were 10-of-11 from three-point range at one point, seemingly hitting everything they hoisted.

SIUE maintained a 63-53 lead before Minnett converted an and-one that sparked a Jaguar run. The defense was able to string multiple stops together, and buckets by Maurice Kirby and D.J. McCall helped cut the deficit to 65-64 with just under 10 minutes to play.

The Jaguars tied the game up at 68 on a pair of T.J. Henderson free throws and then Henderson converted at the stripe again on the ensuing possession to give the Jags the lead. SIUE answered right back, but a pair of buckets by Brennan and Hall put the Jaguars ahead 74-70 with 5:57 left.

SIUE bounced back to take the lead on a pair of Daniel Kinchen free throws at the 2:35 mark, and the Cougars took an 82-81 lead into the final minute. Following back-to-back blocks by Ron Patterson, the Jags had a chance to take the lead with under 30 seconds to play. Coming out of the timeout, the offense executed to spot Minnett in front of his own bench, but the rookie misfired to cap the Jaguars’ 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) night from deep.

“We had opportunities when we cut the lead and took the lead. I think that we just had to buckle down defensively and keep moving the ball. It’s just defensively we couldn’t come up with the stop that we need,” Gardner said.

SIUE had a chance to ice the game at the free throw line, but missed both attempts, leaving the Jags with one last opportunity. They pulled down the rebound, but were not able to get a shot off before the buzzer.

Brennan emerged from a personal slump to notch a game-high 25 points, hitting 8-of-16 shots, including 3-of-5 from three. Hall and Henderson chipped in 12 and 10 respectively while McCall added eight points and nine boards before fouling out. Patterson finished with eight and Rogers closed with seven points and five assists. Overall, the Jaguars had 21 assists on their 30 made shots for the game.

“I thought we moved the ball really well, you know with 21 assists on 30 makes. We had double digit offensive rebounds. From that standpoint, I thought we did a great job,” Gardner said.

SIUE was led in scoring by Jalen Henry with 21 points. Daniel Kinchen contributed 16 points off the bench, and David McFarland followed right behind with 15. Christian Ellis capped off the Cougars in double figures with 10 points. As a team, SIUE shot 57 percent from the field and hit 11-of-16 from downtown (68.8 percent).

“We just didn’t get stops when we need to get stops,” Gardner said postgame, “I thought they did a really good job of attacking all game.”

The Jaguars start a tough three game stretch on Sunday as they travel to West Lafayette to take on the No. 21 Purdue Boilermakers. That game will be broadcast on BTN and can be heard on IUPUIJags.com as Morgan Adcock (pxp) is on the call.

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