Tennessee State took a 67-65 lead on a Kamar McKnight layup and Darreon Reddick's 3-pointer made it 72-67 with just over five minutes left.
From there, however, the Tigers hit just two of their last six shots. SIUE (6-10, 2-3 Ohio Valley Conference) scored 15 points down the stretch, pulling ahead for good when Benton scored and was fouled, the 3-point play creating a 79-77 lead with a minute to go.
The Cougars shot 59 percent (28 of 47) with nine 3-pointers and converted 17 of 22 at the line. The tense contest was tied seven times and had 14 lead changes.
Christian Mekowulu led Tennessee State with 24 points, Delano Spencer added 19 and three steals. Reddick scored 10 points with four steals.
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