EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Freshman C.J. Carr scored a career-high 21 points while senior Kris Davis dropped in 19 as SIUE men's basketball won for the third consecutive game, scoring a 76-68 senior night victory over UT Martin.
"It was a great night for the five seniors," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "This is the way they wanted to go out, with a victory at home. There's something to be said for how well we did at home this year. The seniors built a foundation to show teams coming in that it won't be easy to get a win here."
The win moved the Cougars to 12-14 overall and 8-7 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Both win totals are new program highs at the Division I level. SIUE finished the home season at 11-3 at home this season, which also is a new benchmark at the Division I level.
UT Martin fell to 17-10 overall and 9-5 in the OVC.
For the second time in as many games, the Cougars built double-digit first-half lead only to see it slip away. A Michael Messer jumper with 11:22 to play in the first half gave SIUE its largest lead of the night at 18-6.
UT Martin battled back to take a 36-35 lead after a turnover and a bucket by Arkeem Joseph with 1:46 left before the half. Carr added the final basket before the break to put the Cougars on top 37-36 at halftime. Carr finished the first half with 14 points.
The Skyhawks built their lead to as many as six points (57-51) when Alex Anderson drained a three-pointer with 10 minutes left in the game. SIUE used a quick 10-2 run to take a 61-59 lead after a three-point play with 6:26 left.
UT Martin briefly regained the lead twice. Keaton Jackson put SIUE up for good with a free throw to make it 66-65 with 2:33 to play. Rozell Nunn hit six free throws over the final 49 seconds to secure the win.
SIUE connected on 54 percent (27-50) of its shots for the night. It is the third consecutive game that the Cougars have shot better than 50 percent from the field.
Carr was 8 for 14 from the field, including 3 for 8 from three-point range.
"C.J. was awesome tonight," Forrester added. "Anything can get him going. He can heat up pretty fast as far as scoring goes. I'm trying to get CJ to buy into defense first, and tonight he did a good job of playing some defense."
Davis was 6 for 9 and drained a season-high four three-pointers. The 19 points moves Davis' career total to 1,283 points.
"Kris is fourth on the scoring list in school history," Forrester added. "To have done that means he's made some tough shots down the road. For him to step up tonight shows that senior leadership."