Eastern Kentucky University cut a 10-point deficit down to one with under a minute left, but ultimately fell short in an 85-82 loss against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Thursday at McBrayer Arena.

After trading shots back and forth to open the second half, SIUE managed to open its lead up to as many as 12 through the midway point. Down 10 points with a just 1:49 left in the game, Dillon Avare gave the Colonels life with a three pointer. Nick Mayo responded back with a three of his own while Avare came right back with another triple from the left wing to open up a 9-0 run with 47 seconds left and make it an 81-80 game.

The Cougars went to the line three times, but made just 3-of-6 to keep EKU in the game. Avare hit a mid-range jumper on the other end to bring the Colonels back within two with five seconds showing on the clock. SIU Edwardsville went back to the line again and made 1-of-2 to give the Colonels a chance at overtime, but Mayo missed a heavily contested three pointer before the final buzzer.

SIUE (5-9, 1-2 OVC) had a hot shooting night, hitting 57 percent from the field and 53 percent from behind the arch. Jalen Henry led the way for the Cougars with 35 points, hitting on 5-of-7 from three-point range. Christian Ellis and Daniel Kinchen both contributed 12 points for the Cougars.

Eastern (6-10, 0-3 OVC) wasn’t as fortunate from the field, but was led by a 25-point effort courtesy of Mayo. Avare, DeAndre Dishman, and JacQuess Hobbs all contributed double-digit points, scoring 11, 10, and 10 points respectively.

Dujuanta Weaver had a game-high seven assists and only one turnover for the Colonels.

The Cougars opened up the game on a 10-0 run thanks in large part to back to back threes from Henry. Down by eleven just past the midway point of the first half, the Colonels slowly fought their way out of the deficit and came within one point of the lead with 1:50 left in the half. A tip-in by David McFarland gave the Cougars a three point advantage at the half.

The Colonels will be back in action at McBrayer Arena on Saturday for their fourth game of conference play against Eastern Illinois University. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.

— www.EKUSports.com —

Steve Fohl

Associate Director of EKUSports Communications