The SIU men’s basketball team lost 57-58 in dramatic fashion against Western Kentucky Thursday.
The Salukis had ample opportunities to tie or take the lead in the game’s closing seconds, but he failed to hit clutch freethrows to win the game. Junior guard Desmar Jackson took the last two jumpers for SIU that could have saved the team a second loss on the season. He missed the first with 10 seconds left, and the second was a potential buzzer-beating 3-point field goal at the end of regulation.
The Salukis continued the pattern of poor first half shooting. As a team, SIU made only 31 percent of the shots they attempted and connected on only three of 12 attempted 3-pointers in the first half.
Jackson led all scorers with 22 points after notching only nine points by half time. The junior also played well on the defensive end and accounted for three of the Salukis’six steals.
However, Jackson also led the team with three personal fouls after the game’s first 20 minutes. He improved his shooting stroke in the second half and he added two more 3-point buckets. He hit a variety of off-balanced shots that bounced around the rim and fell in.
Senior guard Jeff Early had a quiet first half as he got into foul trouble early. He ended the night with only eight points and grabbed only six rebounds.
Freshman guard Anthony Beane Jr., started for the Salukis and had a productive first half. The freshman knocked in two freethrows and protected the ball well as he turned the ball over only once after the first buzzer.
T.J Price, Western Kentucky’s leading scorer, injured his leg with four minutes left in the game on a rebound from a foul shot. He left the floor with his team holding a slight 52-51 advantage.
After the Hilltoppers stretched the lead to 54-51 on two freethrows, Jackson hit a jumper to put the Salukis back within a point.
On the Salukis’ final possession, Jackson received a pass and attempted a long 3-point shot. Unlike most of his buckets Wednesday, it did not bounce in.