By Patrick Codo
The Southern Illinois men’s basketball team was able to get its first win of the 2016, 2017 season with an 85-64 win over Missouri Southern State. The Salukis were able to pound on the Lions throughout the whole game with their size but the first half was a struggle, as both teams combined for 32 fouls and 24 turnovers. The Salukis were able to hold the Lions to 20 points in the first half. In the second half the Lions cut the deficit to 51-40, but the Salukis had other plans by going on a 27-2 run to put the game away even though Missouri Southern State went on a 14-3 run to end the game.
Coach Hinson challenged his defense at the end to finish but it didn’t work. What Hinson said about that was, “We just gotta figure out how to get stops, guys if we play the last three and a half minutes they went on a 14-3 run to end the game, this is after I challenged those guys at the three-and-a-half-minute mark to finish the game and win the last three minutes and thirty-three seconds, I will never give that speech again to that group it didn’t work, 14-3 run to end the game.” So the Saluki defense will need to step up for the next game.
For the Lions, only three of their players had double digits as Ji Cratit had 17 points. The Lions were 22-61 on field goal attempts and 12-28 on three point shots. The only lead the lions had was a two-point lead after the first 3 of the game was shot by Ji Cratit but they for sure did not see the lead again after that.
The Salukis were able to click on all cylinders as Sean O’Brien led the team scoring with 19 points and had 10 rebounds. Although him and Thik Bol had double double’s as Bol had 10 points and 17 rebounds. O’Brien and the team had some issues in the first half but they were able to clean things up in the second half as he stated, “I think just pushing the ball once we got on transition that helped us out lot I think even it carried over in the second half a little bit, the first five minutes we were sloppy and then we finally started getting stops, rebounds, and just getting out and running”. Those really payed off in the second half.
The Salukis are now 1-2 on the year and will head to Edwardsville to play the Southern Illinois Edwardsville Cougars and looking to get payback on the Cougars after coming into the SIU arena last year and beating the Salukis 76-74. The game will start at 7 o’clock.
The Lions are now 2-1 on the year as they will host William Jewell College on Saturday at 3 o’clock.