The Salukis didn’t size up well against the 2011 National Invitational Tournament champion.
“I think the stakes of the game hurt us. (The coaches) didn’t put that much emphasis on it, but our guys panicked in clutch situations,” head coach Chris Lowery said.
SIU (5-10, 2-2 Missouri Valley Conference) lost 83-73 Saturday to Wichita State (12-3, 3-1 MVC) at the SIU Arena. In the first half, the Shockers grabbed seven offensive rebounds to the Salukis’ one.
“We struggled rebounding in that first half. But they’re a plus-nine (rebounding margin this season), so they’re the best in our league rebounding,” Lowery said.
Lowery said the Wichita State front court of 7-foot center Garrett Stutz and 6-foot-8-inch forward Carl Hall created problems for the Salukis in the paint, as Stutz accounted for 16 points and seven rebounds while Hall snagged nine rebounds and added eight points.
“They’re big. If you see their lineup, they’re all bigger than us,” senior forward Mamadou Seck said. “It was hard for us, but I think they only out-rebounded us by six.”
The Salukis were able to close the rebounding gap by a margin of 36 to 30 in favor of the Shockers, due in large part to Seck’s fifth double-double of the season with 12 rebounds and 15 points.
The Shockers jumped out to an early lead, but a layup by freshman guard Josh Swan brought the Shocker lead down to 38-33 with 49 seconds left in the first half. But then a 13-0 run capped off by a three from Wichita State guard Joe Ragland with 16:56 left in the second half helped widen the deficit.
“In the second half, we kind of let down at the beginning,” Seck said. “We had some mental mistakes, we took some quick shots that we didn’t need to take and turned the ball over.”
SIU almost came back again with a 16-2 run, which made the Shocker lead 65-60 after Seck hit a layup with 6 minutes 26 seconds left in the game. But Wichita State answered with a 9-0 run of their own that put the game out of reach.
“That was a long basketball game. It seemed to have a lot of different parts to it, but ultimately we were able to open it up with a good start to the second half which we had not been doing,” Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall said. “But they never quit and made it a ball game at the end.”
SIU used the same starting lineup for the second straight game after using ten different lineups in the first 12 games. However, freshman forward Treg Setty only played three minutes after he started his seventh game of the season.
“Treg’s just got to be ready to play. He’s a freshman, and we have to put emphasis on that because we want those guys to be better, because this is their first time through,” Lowery said.
SIU’s game against Missouri State last night was after press time. For more about the game, please see dailyegyptian.com.