EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Fueled by a career-high 29 points from Shamar Wright, SIUE men's basketball turned a four-point game at half into a 92-67 win over North Park Thursday at First Community Arena.
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The Cougars evened their record at 1-1 with the win, improving to 39-17 all-time in home-openers.
"We didn't do enough in the first half, but then we responded in the second half," SIUE Head Coach Brian Barone said. "I was obviously pleased with the end result, and getting the first win of the season is always something you're looking forward to doing."
SIUE managed as much as a nine-point lead in the first half at 35-26 but never pulled away. North Park had as big as a six-point lead in a half that included five lead changes.
The Cougars never trailed in the second period and pulled away with a 14-2 run over a three-minute stretch early in the half to lead 61-42 with 14 minutes to play.
"We made a couple of adjustments to what they were doing defensively," Barone added. "
After scoring five points in the first half, without a three-pointer, Shamar Wright knocked down his first five three-point attempts in the second half. His 29-point outing moved him into eighth place in career scoring at SIUE and he now has 1,126 points. Wright also became the all-time leader in games played at SIUE, playing in his 123rd career game.
The Cougars were 20-34 (58.8 percent) in the second half and shot 54 percent from the field for the game. SIUE was 9-19 (47 percent) from three-point range.
North Park, which won 24 games and made an appearance in the final 16 of the Division III tournament last season, connected on 42 percent (24-57) of its shots in the game.
Phil Holmes, Jr. and Kolden Vanlandingham each scored 12 points to pace the Vikings.
SIUE next travels to Mizzou for a Monday night game against the Tigers.
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