BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Southwestern Illinois pounded the ball into the post to snap a seven-game Mineral Area win streak and even the season series between the two teams on Monday.
Javonte Perkins paced all players with 36 points for the Blue Storm in an 88-81 victory. He was joined down low by Jaalam Hill, who recorded 17 points in the win.
The Cardinals handed SW Illinois (5-1) its lone loss of the season three weeks ago with a 95-90 triumph in which Roman Young scored 30 points. Perkins finished the previous match up with 25 points and nine rebounds.
Bobby Parker led Mineral Area (8-2) in scoring during the second meeting with 23 points, earning baskets with a variety of shot selections.
Kevin Hamlet contributed 16 of his 20 points for the Cardinals in the second half, burying consecutive 3-pointers down the stretch to narrow the deficit.
The Blue Storm got Perkins and Hill involved in its fast-paced offense early to gain a 12-3 lead just four minutes in. Jamie Ahale cut into the margin with his first of three made shots from the perimeter, as he finished with 10 points.
Zach Cameron notched three dunks over the next two minutes to highlight a 7-0 Mineral Area spurt. Ahale trimmed the deficit to just 16-15 on his third 3-pointer with around 13 minutes to play in the first half.
The Cardinals drew within one point on five separate occasions before halftime, then gained their lone advantage on a Maurice Edwards layup with seven minutes remaining.
However, SW Illinois quickly regained the lead on the following possession, and proceeded on a 7-0 run.
Mineral Area had several turnovers result in points for the Blue Storm nearing halftime, and trailed 44-40 at intermission.
SW Illinois opened the second half with a consistent attack from behind the arc to widen its edge. Perkins gave the Blue Storm a 57-47 advantage with 14 minutes to play by dropping in a pair of free throws, but Parker answered immediately with a completed 3-point play.
Braden Fitzjerrells, who notched 15 points, drained his fourth 3-pointer for a 62-50 SW Illinois edge. The Blue Storm executed an effective full-court pressure on defense, and often went to Hill and Perkins offensively to maintain a late advantage.