EDWARDSVILLE — SIUE connected for 50 percent from the field as the Cougars held off Eastern Illinois 62-52 on Wednesday night at the Vadalabene Center.
EIU fell to 2-22 overall, 1-12 in the OVC. The Panthers host Austin Peay at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. SIUE improves to 14-10 overall, 11-2 in the OVC.
Leading 46-40 at the end of the third quarter, SIUE quickly pushed the lead to 10 points on the first two possessions of the fourth quarter. Nakiah Bell drained a jumper from the corner to open the quarter, and then after EIU missed a 3-pointer on its end of the floor, Donshel Beck drove to the basket to make it 50-40.
EIU held Beck to 5 points in the first half, but Beck was able to drive and get to the line in the second half, finishing with 17 points including going 7-of-9 from the foul line.
EIU cut the lead down to 6 points late in the fourth quarter but could get no closer.
EIU held its only lead of 1 point in the first quarter. The Panthers had a chance to take the lead in the second quarter as they trailed 21-20 with two minutes remaining. SIUE pushed the lead to 27-20 before EIU closed the first half on a 5-0 run. Danielle Berry hit a 3-pointer and Grace McRae finished off a lay-up as the Panthers trailed 27-25 at the half.
Jennifer Nehls scored 12 points for the Panthers as EIU finished with 32 points in the paint. Nehls also had six rebounds as EIU finished with 30-28 rebound margin including 13 offensive rebounds.
Karle Pace finished with 10 points and seven assists as EIU shot 41 percent for the game after shooting 57 percent in the second half.
Lauren White scored a game-high 18 points for SIUE.