CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – SIUE men's basketball dropped its regular season finale Thursday, falling on the road at Austin Peay, 64-61.
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The Cougars finish the regular season 12-15 overall and 8-8 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Austin Peay improved to 8-21 overall and 3-12 in the OVC.
"We wanted to finish out the regular season on a positive note, but our execution wasn't there," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "We were very sloppy. We were sloppy to start and sloppy down the stretch."
The Governors opened the game on an 8-0 run, but the Cougars came back to tie the score 14-14, on a Kris Davis layup, and again 18-18 on a three-pointer by Davis which came with 7:00 to play before halftime. Keaton Jackson scored on a layup to put SIUE in front for the first time at 22-20 with 5:36 left. Austin Peay held a 28-25 advantage at half.
The Cougars held as much as an eight-point lead in the second half when Grant Fiorentinos knocked down a pair of free throws with 11:29 left in the game. Austin Peay reeled off the next 10 points to lead 45-43 with 8:18 left.
The lead changed four more times and Rozell Nunn put SIUE ahead 59-58 with a three-pointer at 2:03. It was the last lead the Cougars held.
Davis and Nunn were the only two Cougars to finish in double figures scoring. Davis scored 19 on 6-of-12 shooting. He was 3 for 7 from three-point range. Nunn scored 13 and was 5 for 10 from the field including 3 for 6 from long range. C.J. Carr scored nine points and added a career-high six assists.
Chris Freeman scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for Austin Peay. Chris Horton scored seven points but hauled in 18 rebounds. The Governors outrebounded SIUE 46-27.
The Cougars will next play Wednesday in the first round of the OVC tournament. SIUE has earned the No. 7 seed and will play in the 8 p.m. game against the No. 6 seed, which is to be determined.
"There's nothing physical that we need to do (to prepare for the tournament), Forrester said. "It's more mental. Guys have to understand you have to come out ready to play. You have to be fundamentally sound and you have to play tough."