The men’s basketball team defeated its sister school 71-55 in Edwardsville Tuesday to remain undefeated against the team.
Freshman guard Anthony Beane Jr. scored 15 points in his first season start, and SIU-Edwardsville was unable to climb their way back into the game after a six-player ejection.
With a little more than six minutes left in the second half, the neighboring schools got into a tussle after sophomore forward Antonio Bryer fought for a loose ball against SIU-E’s Jerome Jones, which resulted in the Cougars clearing their bench and Bryer throwing an elbow. Six SIU-E players got ejected from the game along with the Saluki postman after 20 minutes of referee deliberation.
Cougars coach Lennox Forrester said his team simply lost composure at a critical point in the game.
“From our standpoint, it’s a big game, maybe not so for Carbondale,” he said. “Here you are, the so-called sister school trying to make a name for yourself. Every time you hear SIU, everyone thinks of the Salukis.”
The Salukis led by seven at half time and outscored the Cougars 10-0 in transition offense. SIU-E couldn’t connect from distance in the first half as they went 0-3 from 3-point land. The two teams were equal with 16 points in the paint, which is a category the Cougars were expected to dominate in.
Sophomore guard Josh Swan hit an off-balance jumper for 2 points at the first buzzer’s sound to give the Salukis a 35-28 lead.
SIUC started the second half slow and allowed Edwardsville to briefly take the lead at 40-42. Senior guard Kendall Brown-Surles hit a 3-point bucket to regain the lead after head coach Barry Hinson called a timeout, and the team’s defensive intensity increased after the timeout as Jeff Early stole the ball and scored on a lay-up in transition with 9:09 left in the half to make the score 53-46. Bean Jr. contributed 10 points to the Saluki scoreboard in the second half.
Hinson’s decision to alter the starting lineup proved effective as his team allowed a season-low 7.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Cougars made only one 3-point bucket in the contest.
Junior guard Desmar Jackson had a much improved second half as he added eight points and eight rebounds to notch his first double-double of the season. He finished the night with 12 points, 10 rebounds and five steals.
The Salukis received great production from senior guards Early and Brown-Surles. Early tabbed his second double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Brown-Surles got hot from 3-point land and hit three triples to go with 15 points for the night.
“(Kendal) stepped up and made a big shot for us, and it ignited the bench,” Hinson said.
The Cougars forced the Salukis into 19 turnovers and out-rebounded them 37-35, and Hinson threw the ball downcourt in frustration after he caught an erred in-bounds pass by his team.
The Saluki big men also found themselves in foul trouble early and often. Sophomore Dantiel Daniels received his fourth personal foul with nine minutes in the second half, and Bryer had four fouls before the scrum.
However, Brown-Surles hit a 3-point shot after the ejections to put the Salukis up 66-47.
With two of their three top scorers out of the game, the Cougars didn’t have the fire power to outgain the Salukis in the last six minutes of the game and lost 55-71 at home.
“We told our players all week long, we’re going to score on them in our man and then they’re going to go to zone,” Hinson said. “It seemed like forever, but it took us about seven (or) eight minutes to figure it out.”
The Salukis will travel to St. Louis Saturday to face the Billikens at the Chaifetz Arena.
DeMario Phipps-Smith can be reached at email@example.com or 536-3311 ext. 269.