After starting the season with a record of 6-2, the SIU men’s basketball team managed to win only one of its three games in the World Vision Classic in Logan, Utah Dec. 20- 22.A less-than-stellar performance in Utah marked the beginning of a current four-game losing streak for the Salukis.
The men’s team defeated Green Bay on the road Dec. 15 by a narrow 72- 70 margin. Freshman guard Anthony Beane Jr. scored 13 points, added three assists and hit a clutch 2-point jumper with less than a minute remaining in the game. Senior guard T.J. Lindsay shot 5-6 from the field and added 14 points off the bench for the team.
The Salukis stormed back from a 13-point deficit in a rematch against New Orleans on Dec. 17 to beat the Privateers 74-61. Sophomore forward Dantiel Daniels led all SIU scorers with 20 points, and freshman guards Jalen Pendleton and Beane Jr. scored 31 combined points. The freshman duo played perimeter defense with improved tenacity and accounted for five steals together.
In the two World Vision Classic losses, SIU allowed UC Davis and Utah State to shoot better than 48 percent from the field. In a 70-58 defeat against Utah State, Junior guard Desmar Jackson scored a career high 29 points on 5-7 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. Daniels also scored a career-high 23 points in Utah, but it came in a 78-70 loss to UC Davis.
In their first taste of Missouri Valley Conference play, the Salukis lost against Missouri State in Springfield, Mo., 70- 59. SIU started the game shooting 7-11 from 3-point range, but the team made only 1-8 in the second half. Senior guard Kendall Brown-Surles led the Salukis in scoring with 12 points.
The men faced Bradley at home the day after. The Braves ended the game on a 13-4 scoring run to beat the Salukis 66-60. Beane Jr. made two of the Salukis’ three 3-pointers scored on the game.
The men traveled to Evansville Saturday and the Purple Aces crushed the Salukis 85-68 in blowout fashion. Evansville senior guard Ryan Colt scored a game high 26 points, six rebounds and six assists. Saluki senior guard Jeff Early notched another double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds — 5 of which came from the offensive glass.
The Salukis will travel to Wichita tonight to face No. 23 Wichita State Shockers. This will be SIU’s first opponent ranked in the top 25 this season and the chances of the team ending its four game losing streak have been dampened with sophomore forward Antonio Bryer’ departure and Daniels being sidelined because of an ankle injury he sustained against Missouri State.
Coach Barry Hinson said at a teleconference Monday that Daniels might return Jan. 12 against Indiana State. Hinson also said senior guard Diamond Taylor will return from suspension Jan. 15.