The men’s basketball team flustered Indiana State defensively as the Sycamores shot 43 percent from the field in a 76-71 victory Saturday night in the SIU Arena.
The Salukis completed a season high 32 of their 42 free throws. Junior guard Desmar Jackson and freshman guard Anthony Beane Jr. converted on 19 of the team’s total shots from the charity stripe.
Jackson was stifled with only 6 points on 3-7 shooting in the first half. Despite his slow start, the junior had his best second half as a Saluki when he scored 23 points and drained a game-high 12 free throws. Jackson came off a personal best 28-point outing against Wichita State Wednesday.
Coach Barry Hinson called Jackson out publically for conduct he deemed detrimental to the team just days before Saturday’s game.
“He’s done everything I’ve asked him — He’s been aggressive, he’s been responsible, he’s been on time, he’s treated this program like it’s a privilege and not a right,” Hinson said. “This last week, he’s realized that I love him and want the best for him, but he’s also realized the definition of tough love. I think we can move forward now.”
Freshman guard Anthony Beane Jr. scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds. Eight of his points came in the first half, and he converted on a critical 3-point play to narrow the Sycamores’ lead to a point in the closing seconds of the first 20 minutes.
Hinson said Beane Jr. is one of the team’s best defenders but he still has some growing to do.
“I think his next step is to become a sophomore,” he said. “Seriously, he’s just got to live and learn and get through these mistakes right now. His next step is to not be depressed about the mistakes he’s made.”
Senior guard Jeff Early was key in Saluki rebounds. He snatched a career-high 13 rebounds, and four came from the offensive glass.
Jackson said Early doesn’t have to score a lot for his presence to be felt.
“Jeff was huge out there,” he said. “We obviously aren’t a big team, but you can pretty much count on him to get eight or more rebounds in any given game. He is always willing to do whatever it takes for us to get a win.”
Indiana State coach Greg Lansing said the Salukis were able to impose their will at rebounding despite his efforts to prevent it.
“We put on the board before the game, ‘don’t let (SIU) be the more desperate, determined team, and that’s what they were from start to finish,’” he said. “We got outplayed every minute of that game; we got outcoached every minute of that game. Give all the credit to Southern Illinois for wanting it worse than we did.”