"Tonight was all about another opportunity to get better," said Head Coach Jace Thompson. "We faced a press for the first time this year, and overall, I thought we did a pretty good job against it."
The Cougars opened play with the first basket, but Salem went on a 15-0 run to take a 2-15 lead. Back-to-back three-point baskets by Nathaniel Carroll (Daleville/Daleville H.S.) and Jerome Campbell (Indianapolis/ Arsenal Tech H.S.) ended the run with less than 13 minutes left in the first half. The Cougars would get within seven (16-23) when Joby Renbarger (Greentown/ Eastern H.S [Ancilla C.C]) hit two free throws with less than eight minutes to go the first half. The Tigers and Cougars traded baskets from the four-minute mark on and SIU would end the first half with a three-point basket for the 18-point half time lead over IUK.
In the second half, the Cougars would cut the lead to 13 (44-57) with less than 13 minutes left in the game after Jacob Faust (Galveston/Lewis Cass H.S. [Mount St. Joseph College]) hit a free throw. From there, the SIU Tigers would continue to build on their lead, shooting 65 percent (17-of-26) from the floor and 83 percent (5-of-6) from behind the arc in the second half. From there, Salem International University cruised to the 89-64 victory over the Cougars.
"We are a young team and it is not an excuse. A lot of our young guys showed flashes of getting better, including John Capps," said Thompson. "Tonight, Renbarger had one of his best games of the year."
Nathaniel Carroll led the Cougars in scoring with 14 points and Joby Renbarger added 10 points against the Tigers. Spencer Krhin and John Capps both finished with seven points for IU Kokomo. Kevin Webb led the Salem International Tigers with 17 points and five rebounds.
The Cougars (5-11) begin their five game road stretch Wednesday, January 9, when they travel to Belleville, Illinois to play Lindenwood Unversity-Belleville. Game time is set for 8 p.m. at the Lynx Arena. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow Cougar Basketball on Twitter at @IUKBasketball and on Facebook (/IUKBasketball). Visit our website at www.iukcougars.com.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.