Salukis Still Can’t Get Catch a Break
CARBONDALE-It was another agonizing defeat for the Salukis after a poor showing against regional rival Saint Louis University Billikens.
I could write to you all about positives from the game, but this time I can’t. After the Dawgs were upset against one of the worse D-2 school’s in the country, expectations were at a minimal for Tuesday night’s game.
Once again the Salukis were out coached, and were put into a system that has not worked since the 2008-2009 basketball season. It is clear that once games that mattered rolled around, Saluki head coach Chris Lowery has no idea to effectively use his team to win games.
The fans are upset, administration is upset, and more importantly the players are embarrassed. It’s a circle that runs on each other. If the team is doing good, the team has something for the Administration to sell to fans. Fans come to the games provide energy for the team, the team feeds off the energy and win games. If the team comes out flat the fans come in flat, and if the team and fans come out flat, we have a problem with administration as they cannot sell the team back to the fans. Confusing I know, but if one breaks down, the entire system breaks down.
As the Salukis looked to bounce back from a loss to Ohio Dominican in its first test against Coach Rick Majeruse’s SLU Billikens. The Salukis for the second week in a row, took almost 3 minutes to score its first 2 points of the game on a jumper from Junior Jeff Early. The Salukis kept the game close trailing SLU 8-6 at the 12:44 mark, but SLU’s offense took advantage of Southern’s poor play on both sides of the ball.
In the first half of play Freshmen Treg Setty led the way for the Salukis with 6 points coming from 2 Field Goals and 2 Free Throws. Jeff Early and Justin Bocot each had a basket going 1-3 from the field. Those were the only positives come from the first half offense. Yes you read that right, the Salukis only made 4 shots from the floor in the first half, scoring 15 points by shooting 4-22 in Field Goals and 7-9 in Free Throws, an improvement from last week.
Defensively in the first half we can only talk about Freshmen Dantiel Daniels and his 3 blocks. He was stellar under the post doing the best he can to contain the SLU’s offense. Unfortunately he cannot do it all by himself.
As fans started to get upset the Dawg Pound started to slowly dwindle heading into the second half as the entire SIU Arena was dull and again in shock for another poor first half start.
The Salukis didn’t come out any better in the second half. Trailing SLU 37-15, SIU found itself in a panic mode and saw some effort coming from its players for the first few minutes.
The effort did not translate into points.
It took a little more than 2 minutes to get record its first point coming from Diamond Taylor’s free throw. It took the Salukis 11 minutes for them to make a basket thanks to a lay up by Jeff Early. Yes you read that right, 11 minutes went by until a Southern Illinois player scored.
Twenty-four total shots were taken in the second half, only 7 of those went in. All of which with under ten minutes left in the game. Surprisingly enough with the amount of free throws made, SIU outscored the Billikens 27-24 in the second half.
Not much can be said about the second half defense, as Daniels recorded 2 blocks, and Treg Setty had a steal.
The senior leaders of Justin Bocot and Mamadou Seck were held in check and limited in their scoring after both scoring 18 in the first game. Secks 7 points came from the charity. His ability for low post scoring has hit a snag and knowing Seck, he will be the first to admit that he isn’t playing as well as he would like to.
The Salukis have the rest of the week to adjust before their next game this Saturday in Boston against Northeastern. The Huskies are currently 1-1 and coming off a loss to MassU. If there is a game they need to win this season it would be this one, to avenge the brutal 1-point loss from last years season opener.
Justin Bocot: Bocot did as much as he could, but the super sensitive refs seemed to be on him more then every other player on the court. His shooting wasn’t as lively as we have seen in the first three games including preseason, but that is because there weren’t many created shot opportunities for him. Overall I think it was a less then average night for him but I expect him to bounce back against Northeastern unless coach Lowery forgets about him on the bench towards the end of the second half…
Mamadou Seck- This was probably one of the worse games I have seen him play. Mamadou missed all four FG attempts but was able to go 7 of 8 from the free throw line. His effort was there; but SLU’s D was able to contain him under the post with multiple 6’11” defenders. If anyone is going to have emotions for the Northeastern game, it will be Mamadou.
T.J. Lindsey- Lindsey did the best he could, but he did not get in much during the second half in favor for Freshmen Josh Swan. He looked confused at times, but it may be because this offense and defense is not for him. Lindsey was 1-4 in the field. I still have faith in him running an offense in the future, but until he gets fully comfortable it could get ugly.
Jeff Early- Early hasn’t looked like the player I thought he was going to be. Against SLU he didn’t look as fired up as was against Ohio Dominican to make a play. There was effort coming from him early in the second half, and he did take shots going 2-5 from the field. If he is going to succeed he needs to take better shots. Just like Mamadou Seck last year, it should take a few games until he starts to show complete progress.
Kourtney Goff- Goff only played for 7 minutes and he was over matched in the 7 minutes. He was whistled for a foul and committed a turnover without shooting the ball or picking up an assist. Hopefully next time around he will adjust into the player he was at the JUCO level.
Diamond Taylor- Taylor looked rusty in his first game where he got major minutes but his stat line was unimpressive for the 30 minutes he played going 0-5 in the field and had the Salukis lone Assist. He did see success by drawing fouls and going to the line 8 times making 6 free throws. I can only expect that Diamond will be a starter from here on out.
Treg Setty- Setty had 8 points in the game going 3-8 in the field. His three boards looked cleaned, but some of his D was under a tight microscope from SLU. He likes to take control of the game and shows signs that he will be an impact player in the near future.
Dantiel Daniels- Daniels was stellar on D setting the pace with 5 blocks. Unfortunately his shooting was not there missing all 4 shots and going 3-6 at the line. He did come as advertised playing bigger then his 6’6’’ frame and is already turning heads. If he wants to be the complete player, he needs to work on his shooting game before conference play.
Josh Swan- Swan got major minutes in the 2nd half and looked comfortable running the offense. As most people are speculating he may have won the starting PG spot in place of
T.J. Lindsey. However he has a lot of work to do after not converting any of his shots. He shows promise, just needs to fully adjust to the college game.
Harry Whitt- Whit has become a fan favorite in the Dawg Pound as he got a warm ovation from the crowd when he entered the game with 5 minutes left. It’s kind of a shame that it took Coach Lowery 35 minutes to put in the freshmen big man. He made an immediate impact once he came into the game drawing a foul and making his two free throws. However he played like a freshmen making common mistakes. His up and under shots were unsuccessful but has shown his range when playing defense as he was all over the place. If only the coaching staff knew how to exploit his talents.
Antonio Bryer- Can’t say much about Bryer who only played for two minutes and had a personal foul. I don’t expect him to get much playing time unless an injury happens to one of the forwards. Hey wouldn’t it be cool if for those last five minutes, we saw ALL five freshmen on the court?
Sam Donets is the Sports Director at WIDB.Net He may be contacted via e-mail @ email@example.com