Men's Basketball Drops Opener at No. 20 Purdue

Head Coach Jon Harris addresses his team
Head Coach Jon Harris addresses his team

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Three SIUE players scored in double figures and SIUE won the rebounding battle, but No. 20 Purdue proved too much for the Cougars. The Boilermakers earned a 105-74 win in the season opener for both teams Friday at Mackey Arena.

"Our guys fought tonight," Third-year SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "We talk about the '50-50 balls.' We won a lot of those. That part was good to see. There are definitely some positive takeaways from the game."

Redshirt-sophomore Julian Torres led the Cougars in his SIUE debut. Torres, who sat out last season after transferring from UIC, scored a game-high 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting. He was 4 for 4 from three-point range.

"Julian is a capable guy," Harris said. He did some really nice things and it's good to see him have some success."

Daniel Kinchen and Justin Benton also turned in double-digit scoring performances for the Cougars. Kinchen, also making his SIUE debut, scored 17 points. He was 7 for 17 from the field and added four three-pointers of his own. Benton scored 15 points. He was 7 for 13 from the floor.

Overall the Cougars were 31-81 (38.3) combined from the field, including knocking down 10 of 31 three-point attempts. The 10 three-pointers made were the most for a Cougar team since the 2015 season.

"Overall, I was disappointed in our offense," Harris said. "I don't think we moved at the level that we're capable of. We got a little stagnant. (Purdue) is a good defensive team but we have to be better than we were."

The Cougars outrebounded Purdue 40-39, which included a 25-17 advantage in the first half.

"Rebounding is a mindset," Harris said. "If that's one thing we can bottle up and take with us the rest of the way then we'll have a chance to do some things this year."

Purdue connected on 59 percent (36-61) of its shots. The Boilermakers were nine for 19 from three-point range.

"That team is hard to guard," Harris said. "They don't make a lot of mistakes."

Purdue was led by Dakota Mathias, who scored 18 points. He was 5 for 8 from the field. He was 6 for 6 at the free throw line. The Boilermakers were 24-32 as a team from the free throw line.

The Cougars will play their first regular season home game Wednesday when Valparaiso comes to Vadalabene Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

"We'll look at film, break this one down and we'll learn from it," Harris said. "And we'll come out Wednesday ready to go."