Category: Sports Blog

SIU vs. Florida A&M

By Sean Conway

The SIU men’s basketball team is off to an exciting start. The team kicks off the season with a 2-0 record for the first time since the 2012-13 season. With nine new players on the court this year for the Salukis, we may be in for a different outcome than in the past seasons. The Salukis faced a Rattlers team that is coming off a very unsuccessful season. The Rattlers posted a very unimpressive 2-27 record in the 2014-15 season. The Dawgs weren’t much better however, going 12-21.

1st Half:

The Salukis got off to a sluggish start against the Rattlers. Five minutes into the first half, the Dawgs maintained a one point lead after opening the game going back and forth with the Rattlers. With the score 10-9 just a quarter of the way through the first half, G Anthony Beane exploded offensively and led the Dawgs on a scoring run for the rest of the half. Beane scored 16 points through the first half, hititng 2 of 5 three point attempts. Foul trouble plagued the Rattlers, allowing 13 points to be scored from the free throw line. C Bola Olaniyan 5 points and 6 rebounds, 3 offensively, and 3 defensively, in the half. Meanwhile on the Rattler’s side, the team was led by F. Francois Lewis, who totaled 10 points and 6 rebounds. Lewis virtually played the entire first half, only sitting a total of three minutes to catch his breath. Heading into the half, the Salukis were shooting 37.9% inside the arch, and only 30.8% in three point territory, while the rattlers were hitting 30.8% from both inside and outside the arch.

2nd Half:

After the dominating performance by Anthony Beane in the first half, the Rattlers figured out how to slow down his offensive productiveness. Beane was held to 4 points in the second half after being double teamed the rest of the game by the FAMU defense. JuCo transfer Mike Rodriguez stepped up for SIU in the second half with 9 points and 6 assists. Olaniyan remained on his pace from the first half, and finished the game with 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 turnovers. The Rattlers took a major hit to their offensive productivity when Lewis fouled out just over halfway through the second half. The dawgs went on to win by thirty, with a final score of 81-51. Every player on SIU saw action in yesterday’s game, even big man Deng Leek, who is currently struggling with knee issues.

The Salukis next game is against the Kent State Golden Flashes. Kent State started the year with a 79-70 win over the Youngstown State Penguins this past Saturday. SIU looks to continue their hot start to the season as they host the Golden Flashes this Wednesday night at the SIU arena.

Salukis secure win for Senior Night

In Saturday night’s matchup we saw our SIU Salukis square up against the Sycamores of Indiana State. The game was the last home game of the season for the Salukis and the last home game of Taylor Pippen’s college career.

The game was a tight matchup, regardless of Indiana State’s 17-15 overall record and 6-11 conference record. There were 36 tie scores throughout the four sets in the match, that ended with the Salukis earning their 21st win of the season.

The first set started off with the Salukis being punished for multiple net violations very early into the set. The Sycamores came into the game trying  to prove that they were better than their record said. That was exactly what they did, as the scoreline was tied at 12-12 midway through the set. Indiana State was playing offense very aggressively, constantly attacking the ball. Going into the first timeout of the half, the score had been tied between the two rivals for 11 times while the score was only 15-14 Salukis. SIU started to reciprocate the Sycamore aggression and took the biggest lead of the set at 18-15. Later into the first half, Saluki head coach Justin Ingram was forced to call a timeout as Indiana State went on a 6-2 run, making the score 23-22 SIU. Ingram’s plan worked as the set ended on an Andrea Estrada kill with the Salukis taking the first set 25-23.

Outside hitter Estrada continued her intensity by starting the second set with two quick kills. That intensity was abruptly stopped as the Sycamores took a strong lead, doubling the Salukis score at 8-4. Under pressure, coach Ingram made the decision to call an early timeout to reorganize his team. For a while, the Salukis started to play better, but it wasn’t for long as they found the Sycamores doubling their score once again at 12-6. Libero Mariana Pilon took leadership as she constructed her teammates to make multiple stops on defense and to kickstart the Saluki offense in the attempt to make a comeback. Her leadership inspired her teammates as the Salukis did spark a comeback, making the score 17-15 Indiana State. Things were looking good for SIU as the score was tied for the 17th time of the game at 20-20. Unfortunately, the Sycamores kept pushing, finishing out the set with a 25-22 win. This was the first set the Salukis lost at Davis Gym in 10 sets, dating back to November 2nd.

The third set started with a Saluki lead of 8-5. The lead didn’t last long as Indiana State went on a 5-0 and the score was tied again at 11-11, forcing another SIU timeout. The Salukis responded with a run right after of 8-2. The SIU attack at this point was looking as good as they were all season long. The set ended on a kill from middle hitter Alex Rosignal who came up big in the set, helping her team win the set 25-20 and making the game score 2-1 Salukis.

The final set had a very interesting start, with each team scoring one point after the other team would, up until the Sycamore had a 9-8 lead. Later into the set, after going down a deficit of three, the Salukis went on a 7-3 run, putting them up on the Sycamores 16-15. Directly after the Saluki run, the Sycamores went on a run of their own of 6-1. Down by three late into the set, the Salukis needed to make a turn around if they were to win the set. Senior hitter Taylor Pippen came up big on her night in the last set, recording four kills that helped out the team immensely. With the help of Pippen’s kills, the Salukis pulled another late comeback winning the set 25-23 and winning the match 3-1.

Setter Meg Viggars lead the team in assists, while replacing teammate Hannah Kaminsky due to illness, with a total of 52 assists out of the team’s 55 assists. Estrada lead both teams in kills, with a total of 19. Sycamore setter Erika Nord had a great game as she lead the game for four spectacular aces.

The Salukis improve to 22-7 overall and 13-3 in the MVC while on an eight game winning streak. Catch their next game as they battler conference leaders Wichita State for first place on ESPN3  November 20th at 7:00pm.


Senior night for Taylor Pippen | Photo courtesy of – Holiday Wagner

Football: Southern Illinois vs. Illinois State

By Peter Bobrinskoy


Southern Illinois came in with a record of 3-6, and Illinois State entered at 7-2 while being ranked #6 in the country. But in the first half you wouldn’t be able to tell which team was the runner up of last year’s championship.

Both teams started out sluggish in the first quarter with a lot of flags being thrown, a lot of drop balls and a slow start to the game. The Salukis ran for 42 yards while throwing for 38 yards with wide receiver Anthony Fowler coming with both of those completions.

However the second quarter brought much more excitement. The Salukis offense started to get going when they completed an 11 yard touchdown to Adam Fuehne for the first lead of the game. However the Redbirds then responded to that touchdown with a 50 yard kick return which then was followed by an 8 play drive where Marshaun Coprich ran for a 12 yard touchdown to tie the game up.

After a very gut wrenching interception from quarterback Mark Iannotti to the Redbirds Defensive End Teddy Corwin, the Salukis answered by being able to come up with an interception themselves two players later and prevent the Redbirds from scoring.

What happened next was a huge momentum build for the Salukis. With only two minutes left in the half, the Salukis were able to drive down the field and find Billy Read for a touchdown. And go into halftime with a 21 to 14 lead.

However that ended up being one of the last bright moments for the Salukis in the game. The beginning of the second half could not have gone worse. After going three and out in the first possession, Illinois State went on a six play drive and finished with a touchdown with a 23 yard scramble by Quarterback Trey Roberson. Then on the perusing kicking off, Southern Illinois fumbled the ball and Illinois State recovered the football on the 20 yard line. Three plays later, Quarterback Trey Robinson went on to run for another touchdown giving the Redbirds a 28-21 lead.

Coach Lennon agreed that his team did not adjust the way they needed to after halftime.

“Today we got beat by a pretty good football team. Illinois State did exactly what they needed to do in the game in the 3rd Quarter and we just weren’t able to recover from that,” he said. “We just weren’t able to stop the big plays and you have to be able to do that. That’s where we came up short”

Another three and out by the Saluki offense, and the Redbirds capitalized again making the game 35-21. The Third quarter was disastrous for the Salukis and the Offense could not get things going.

Southern Illinois had chances to stay in the game but made too many mistakes. Turnovers killed the Salukis in the second half and the game ended with a score of 42-21. Credit Illinois State Head Coach Brock Spack for his halftime adjustments. Southern Illinois did not have an answer for the Redbirds in the second half and will go into its final regular season game next week against Northern Iowa with a record of 3-7.


Salukis fight back from 15-point deficit to defeat Air Force

By Jeremy Sneed

The Salukis started out the gates very sluggish and had trouble making their shots.  Surprisingly though, they still had a chance after the first half only being down 38-30.  In the first half, SIU shot a dismal 34% from the field, including going 2-14 from three-point land and just 4-11 from the free throw line.  Then a whole new team showed up just after the start of the second half.

Whatever it was that Barry Hinson said to the players during halftime, he needs to have engraved on the court somewhere.  Air Force started the second half on fire going on a 13-0 run to begin.  But then the Salukis switched to a full court press and started mounting pressure on Zach Kocur, Trevor Lyons, and other Falcon trying to bring the ball up court.  Hinson can thank Sean O’Brien and Mike Rodriguez for that defensive success because they were like glue on their defenders up and down the court.  The Salukis continued to battle throughout the second half until eventually taking a 61-60 lead, but then handing the lead right back to the Falcons.  Once the Salukis were able to hold the lead down the stretch, some clutch free throws from Tyler Smithpeters and Mike Rodriguez clinched the victory for SIU.  I would also like to mention that Anthony Beane made a transformation of his own in the second half scoring 12 of his 13 total points in the second half.  Without Anthony Beane the Salukis probably would have lost this game, but there was a new guy for SIU that really stole the show.

Junior college transfer junior, Mike Rodriguez, made a huge statement tonight in the first Division I game of his career.  Rodriguez had 15 points on 5-10 shooting with two assists and ZERO turnovers – but those numbers don’t tell the whole truth about how great Rodriguez looked out on the court.  You would have thought Flash was out there running the offense, Rodriguez was that fast.  He was also able to space the floor very well and he would have more assists if they would have made more shots but that happens sometimes.  He was a problem for the Air Force Falcons all game long.

 “For Michael, speaking of little stinkers, for Michael, what was it 50 seconds?  Make a big play son and boy does he ever! Woo! And I promise you he can make free throws,” Hinson said.  

I think Coach was spot on calling him a stinker, and hopefully he’s right that Rodriguez can hit free throws (he went 5-11 from the line).  I think that was just some nerves of playing his first game with a major university.

All in all the Salukis still have room for improvement, only shooting 25% on three-point field goals and having just 14 assists.  Looking at the bright side though, just 6 turnovers in the whole game for SIU and they were able to win with Anthony Beane and Sean O’Brien having foul trouble (O’Brien fouled out with 1:48 left in the game).  Newcomers like Armon Fletcher and Mike Rodriguez made some big statements tonight and helped the Salukis to their first win and if they can keep playing like this throughout the season, I like the Salukis’ chances in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Photo courtesy of

Armon Fletcher | Photo courtesy of