Drake’s go-ahead 3-point bucket with just over one minute left in Wednesday’s game helped seal the Bulldogs’ 61-56 victory over the Salukis.
Bulldog forward Chris Hines was nearly unstoppable from the perimeter. Hines scored 12 points for the night on four of eight 3-pointer attempts. This is the second consecutive game the Salukis have allowed a single player to make four or more 3-pointers against them (Creighton’s E. Wragge 4-8).
Despite committing 20 turnovers, Drake’s offense ran efficiently in the contest as the Bulldogs shot 50 percent from the field but 53 percent from behind the 3-point line.
“I think if you asked Barry (Hinson), I think he’d agree that neither team was very crisp tonight,” Drake coach Mark Phelps said. “We shot the ball very well but turned it over way too many times. We’re happy to get the win.”
SIU shot just 36 percent from the field, and only 4 points came from fast break opportunities against the bigger Drake team. The Salukis’ 3-point arc struggles continued last night as they went six of 25 from long range.
Coach Barry Hinson said the offense was stagnant and sometimes tough to watch.
“Point blank — what it comes down to — we could not make a shot,” Hinson said. “It was excruciating. I felt the entire game tonight (that) I was at my dentist’s office and they were drilling on me with no novocaine.”
Saluki freshman guard Anthony Beane Jr. went 1-9 for four points on the night. He failed to connect on any of his four attempts from 3-point distance. The starting guards accounted for just two 3-point field goals on 17 tries.
SIU’s offense was aggressive in the first half and reached the foul line several times. However, the Bulldogs changed their defensive scheme to a zone look and forced the Salukis into jump shots. SIU sophomore forward Dantiel Daniels was completely ineffective in block scoring, as he missed all three of his shots from the floor. Such a lack of post presence allowed Drake to pressure the perimeter and make shooters to take tough shots.
Phelps said stopping Daniels was a game staple in his game plan this week.
“If (Daniels) was two to three inches taller, you couldn’t deal with him at all,” he said. “He’s a load even at his size. When you give him angles, he’s very deadly. I know he’s not 100 percent back from his injury.”
Senior guard Jeff Early scored 8 points and pulled eight rebounds in his return from a one game suspension. Fellow senior guard T.J. Lindsay scored 11 points off the bench and made timely 3-point buckets.
“I just try to stay ready to play,” Lindsay said.”Every time we get a crowd like that it will always make us play better.”
Hinson said Lindsay surprised him with his play because he wasn’t sure if Lindsay would even play in the game.
“He had a sprained foot and came in and hit three big shots,” Hinson said. “If he doesn’t make those threes, we’re not in the game.”
The Salukis (8-13, 1-9) dropped their fifth straight game and have lost the last eight games against Drake (10-11, 4-6).
“This one hurts — I can’t fake it,” Hinson said. “I thought we had it. There’s only one thing that will help this team right now, and we are searching for the elusive win.”
Demario Phipps-Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 536-3311 ext. 256.