Category: Sports Blog

Salukis roll over Maryville, looking ahead to Air Force


By Jeremy Sneed 

The Saluki mens basketball team opened up its season Monday with an exhibition game against the Maryville Saints.  The game started out slow offensively for both teams but SIU ended up winning easily with a final score of 106-73.  Leading the way on offense for the Salukis was Sean O’Brien who scored 17 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, and Tyler Smithpeters who scored 12 points and had 6 assists to go with.  The Salukis did a great job tonight sharing the basketball, taking smart shots and hitting those smart shots. The main thing they need to work on is free throws.

“I am tired of finishing last in the Valley in assists,” coach Barry Hinson said. ” I told our coaches if you cannot pass, dribble or shoot, they are not coming to Southern Illinois University.”  

These were strong statements made by Hinson when asked about his team’s smart shot selection in tonight’s game.  I really like that the fact that Hinson addressed an important factor in the offseason.  He had to fill five spots from last year’s team and I think it is very important to have players who are good passers because they will set up better scoring opportunities on offense, and that’s what happened tonight.  Newcomers Mike Rodriguez and Leo Vincent did a great job of spacing the floor out through excellent dribbling and passing, two of the three aspects Hinson focused on. With the excellent passing and ball handling, this led to spectacular shooting displays from Jeremy Postell (4-6 from the field), Sean O’Brien (6-7), and Tyler Smithpeters (4-6).  The Salukis as a team shot 63.3% from the field and had a total of 23 assists.  

On the other hand, while the Salukis played an overall great game the one thing they could improve on is hitting free throws, while Maryville needed help guarding the low-post and hitting their shots on offense.  Starting off SIU shot just 65.6% from the free throw line.  Against a team like Maryville they can get away with that, but the Salukis are really going to need to become more consistent from the stripe if they want to be contenders this season. I personally believe free throw shooting is an under looked statistic in basketball – it can separate playoff teams from non-contenders.  If the Salukis can become more consistent from the free throw line, they could be a contender this year in the Missouri Valley Conference.  

Maryville struggled offensively, taking 62 shots while only making 27 of them.  There is a lot of room for improvement with the Saints.  They spaced the ball out very well with good screens and nice passes.  They clearly had plenty of scoring opportunities, taking 62 shots; they just need to hit more than 27 of them in the future. They have potential with players like Marvin Grant-Clark and Clark Sims running the team. If the Saints want to win games and be competitive this season, they need to take advantage of all their scoring opportunities.  

The Salukis are going to have a tough time playing against Wichita State, Illinois State and Northern Iowa this season.  They will be facing another tough opponent Friday night in their official season opener against Air Force.  

Coach Hinson said he scheduled this game against Maryille to prepare them for Air force.  

“There’s no coach in America that’s saying I wanna guard the Princeton system the first game,” he said. “But we did it to hopefully help us with Air Force.”

Considering how easily the Salukis handled the Princeton system with Maryville, I think the they should have an easy time against Air Force and hopefully can start out the season strong with a win. They will open their season at 7 p.m. Friday in SIU Arena.

 

Last hope for the Bears?


By Peter Bobrinskoy

 

The Chicago Bears are playing against the San Diego Chargers tonight on Monday Night Football. I am crazy for thinking that if the Bears win, they have a chance to make the playoffs? Yes. The answer is “yes.” This Bears team is not good. They completely choked in the last two games against the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings by just giving the Win away.

But for some reason this Bears team seems different. Yes this team is 2-5 but they have a very winnable schedule coming up for the remainder of the season. The Chargers, Rams, Broncos, Packers, 49ers, Redskins, Vikings, Buccaneers, and Lions.  Outside of the Packers and the Broncos, all of those are winnable games.

If the Bears lose tonight against the Chargers, I’m done and I am throwing in the towel. But if they can win tonight and be 3-5 going into St. Louis then anything can happen. Call me crazy but this team can scrape and claw and possibly be 8-8 or 9-7 at the end of the year which MIGHT be enough to make the playoffs.

Is there any NFC team that really scares people? The Packers have now lost two in a row. The Rams have only 3 wins. The Vikings? Cmon, who are we kidding? The Seahawks are 4-4 and can’t block. The NFC is not that good. Meaning if the Bears are 500 at the end of the season that might be enough for the Wild Card.

Salukis stomp Evansville, clinch 20th win


By Ethan Cox

The Salukis matched up against the Purple Aces of Evansville on Saturday. In their previous matchup, the Salukis pulled out a 3-1 win at Evansville. Going into this game, the Salukis were coming off of a five game winning streak and planned on making it six. As for Evansville, they are having a tough season with the record of 8-19 and a conference record of 2-11.

The first set began with the Salukis looking to kickstart the game right away. Attacking the opposition very strategically, the Salukis to an early, marginal lead of 4-0. Although, the Purple Aces fought right back. Multiple times in the set, the Salukis would take two steps forward and then two steps backward, as Evansville would follow their lead. Head coach, Justin Ingram, explained, “When they played hard, we played hard. When they played lazy, we played lazy”. Later into the set, the Salukis began to play with more intensity, offensively and defensively. Evansville’s defense was slowly being picked apart by the Saluki hitters. SIU started to slowly break away from Evansville, going up 17-9 and forcing a Purple Ace timeout. Down by 14 points, the Purple Aces were in need of points and need to spark some sort of attack to reciprocate the Saluki juggernaut offense, and that’s exactly what they did. Evansville went on a quick 6-0 after head coach, Manolo Concepcion, called a timeout to organize his team. Unfortunately for them, their comeback was ended when the Salukis scored one more point to with the first set 25-16.

Going into the second set, the Salukis started off strong once again. This time, they took the early lead of 6-2, forcing an Evansville timeout after just three minutes into the set. Just like the first set, Evansville came back within a few points of the Salukis. For most of the second set, the scoreline was almost neck and neck, with SIU only leading by a few points. Late into the set, the Salukis went on a 5-0 run and were able to shut down any team attacks from the Purple Aces. The set ended with the Salukis winning 25-19 and taking a 2-0 lead on the game.      

Heading into the break, hitters Meg Viggars and Taylor Pippen combined for 11 of the 15 kills. Viggars led the team with six kills. Setter Hannah Kaminsky led the team in assists with 10 out of the 14 total assists.

In the final set of the match, the Salukis had done what they had been doing all game, continuing their offensive dominance. They were once again off to a stunning start. Frustration boiled for the Purple Aces as they were being exposed defensively. The Salukis were constantly hitting the ball where the Purple Aces could not get it. For most of the set, the Salukis had doubled Evansville’s score. Late into the set, Evansville captain, Kim Deprez, started to show great leadership. She began ordering players tactically around the court in hopes of making a comeback. Directly after, Evansville went on a 4-0 run, forcing an SIU timeout. The Salukis came back determined to finish the game and secure the win. The set ended with the score of 25-13 and the Salukis took with win.

For the first time in school history, the Salukis volleyball team has qualified for the MVC tournament for four straight seasons. This is also the third time in four years that the team has reached 20 wins in a season. For the Salukis, they are now 20-7 overall and 11-3 in the MVC. After the game, Ingram mentioned the upcoming games to close the season. When talking about Wichita State and Illinois State, he described them as “tough opponents” and “challenging”.

Catch the Salukis next game against Illinois State (18-8) on November 13 at 7 p.m. at Davies Gym.

 

Salukis pull away from Panthers with explosive third quarter


 

By Steve Maves

The SIU Women’s basketball team finished their exhibition season on Saturday with an impressive win over Kentucky Wesleyan College 96-64 at SIU Arena.

The beginning of the game seemed like a track meet with two very fast teams getting out in transition after every missed basket. The Salukis struggled at the beginning of the contest not getting back on defense and stopping the Panthers in transition, which resulted in easy baskets for Kentucky Wesleyan.

Once the Salukis slowed the game down, it was sophomore Celina VanHyfte that took over and dominated throughout the afternoon scoring 19 points including 11 in the first quarter on 9-13 shooting. VanHyfte also recorded one block and six rebounds two of those were offensive. Junior guard Carlie Corrigan also had a standout performance Saturday tying VanHyfte in points with 19 shooting 7-11 including 5-8 from downtown and adding four assists. VanHyfte and Corrigan are our WIDB Co-Players of the Game selected by Danny Valle (Play-By-Play) and Jeremy Sneed (Color Commentary).

As a team SIU played very well offensively with four players scoring in double figures, the team shot 55.4% from the field, outscored the Panthers 42 to 32 in the paint, grabbed 43 rebounds (14 offensively), and dished out 22 assists.

At halftime SIU was leading 42-38, but when the third quarter started and the teams switched ends of the court it was all SIU in the second half. Kentucky Wesleyan came out of the locker room very flat and SIU took advantage. At one point in the third quarter the Salukis had a 23-4 scoring run thanks in large part to four straight made three points.

A lot of what was keeping the Panthers in the game early was getting back door cuts from the top of the key and having a player wide open in the middle of the lane, but in the second half SIU was ready for most of those plays and forced nine second half turnovers.

After giving up 25 points in the first 10 minutes of the game, SIU allowed only 39 points the rest of the game, while they scored 70 in route to the big victory.

For the Panthers, they were led by junior guard Brittany Wells who finished the game with 14 points on 6-13 from the field, three rebounds and one assist. Also for the Panthers sophomore guard Addie Reimbold finished with 11 points on 4-6 from the field, four rebounds, one assist, and one steal.   

“I feel like our kids don’t know how to handle the expectations of being better,” SIU coach Cindy Stein said. “The expectations that they are suppose to come in a blow people out because they are better and I think it makes them tight and I have to find a away, that is my challenge to get them to play loose.”

Coach Stein was talking about how her players come out of the locker room not as ready to play as they should because of the high expectations of the Salukis this season and she has to figure out a away to get them ready to play from the get go.

The Salukis will travel to Chicago for the preseason WNIT next weekend and will play DePaul on Friday November 13th before heading home to face Tennessee-Martin on Wednesday November 25th.

Photo courtesy of Saluki Athletics | siusalukis.com