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.
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.
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.