EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIU Carbondale connected on 68.5 percent of its shots and ran away from SIUE 101-83 Friday at Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars even their record at 2-2 for the season. The Salukis also are 2-2.
"This is a rivalry game," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "There's an intensity you have to come out of the gates with. We didn't have it tonight to start the game. I thought we played much better in the second half. But it was too little too late."
SIUE had three players score in double figures. The Cougars knocked down 53.3 percent (16-30) of their shots in the second period and shot 47.4 percent (27-57) from the field for the game.
"We have a lot of guys who are capable scorers," Harris said. "We just have to clean our defense up."
Tre Harris led SIUE with a career-best and game-high 24 points. He was 7 of 13 overall and 5 of 10 from three-point range.
"Tre did some good things," Harris said. "He is a very talented offensive player. He knows how to move off the ball. He is not afraid to take big shots."
Jalen Henry came within a point of his career high with 17 points. Freshman Christian Ellis scored a career-high 16 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out a career-high six assists with just a single turnover.
The two teams traded leads five times early in the first half before the Salukis made a run midway through the half and never looked back.
SIUC saw three players top the 20-point threshold en route to spoiling SIUE's home opener. The Salukis were 22 for 30 (73.3 percent) from the field in the first half and 37 of 54 (68.5 percent) for the game.
"You can't win ballgames allowing your opponents to shoot at that clip," Harris said. "It wasn't really jump shots. We're allowing teams to get to the rim, right to the heart of our defense."
Sean O'Brien led SIUC with 22 points and nine rebounds. Mike Rodriguez and Leo Vincent finished the night with 20 points apiece.
SIUC exploited the Cougars' inside, finishing the game with a 54-38 advantage in points in the paint.
"Starting the game, their big guys established a presence inside," Harris said. "They established their dominance early. We started collapsing, and that opened up the lane for their guards. I thought that was the difference in the ballgame."
SIUE returns to the road for a Tuesday night matchup at Arkansas State. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.