Louisiana-Monroe 70, E. Illinois 60
AMES, Iowa (AP)—Tony Hooper scored 17 points and hit four late free throws to help Louisiana-Monroe hold on for a 70-60 victory over Eastern Illinois after letting most of a big lead slip away.
Louisiana-Monroe led 59-36 midway through the second half in the season-opening Cyclone Challenge at Iowa State, then found itself clinging to a 64-57 lead after Eastern Illinois’ Mike Robinson stole the ball and drove for a layup with 1:20 left.
Eastern Illinois then had to start fouling and ULM converted, Hooper going 4-for-6 at the line and Jordan Payne making a final pair.
Jonas Brown added 13 points for ULM, which shot 13-for-29 from 3-point range. Payne scored 11 for the Warhawks and Dalky Melendez 10. Hooper, Brown and reserve Drew Meyerchick each hit three 3-pointers.
Bobby Catchings led Eastern Illinois with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Robinson had 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and a school-record eight steals.
Back-to-back 3s by Meyerchick and Brown’s dunk off a steal gave ULM its 23-point lead with 9:51 remaining. Eastern Illinois went on a 13-3 run to get back in it, then made a final charge. Robinson hit two free throws, then twice stole the ball and drove for layups to spark an 8-0 burst that cut the lead to seven.