Salukis win against Butler, will enter MVC undefeated

By Ryan Scott, Staff Reporter

The SIU men’s basketball team (6-0) won against the Butler Bulldogs (1-3) on Monday for Butler’s first home out of conference loss since 2012. 

The Salukis yet again ended the first half on a huge run, this time with a 26-5 run over the final 13:19 of the first half. 

Head coach Bryan Mullins said the Salukis defense was very good in the first half and credited that for their run. Sophomore Forward Marcus Domask said the team went on that run because of their three point abilities and great defense.

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“At the end of the day we pride ourselves on defense and we hold them to five points, that’s what we come out and try to do. We expect to go on runs like that when we play defense, at the end of the day we’re not giving up easy buckets,” Domask said. 

Sophomore Guard Trent Brown also credited the teams defense for the run.

“We were getting stops, getting rebounds and holding them to one possession,” Brown said. “Once we were able to do that we have enough shooters on the court that we were able to push the pace and really can begin building on that lead.”

Domask scored a game high with 26 points and Brown added 21 for the Salukis.

Freshman guard Chuck Harris led the scoring for Butler with 22 and junior forward Bryce Golden got 17 points along with nine rebounds. 

The Salukis entered the game as eight and a half point underdogs against the Bulldogs but still managed to win the game. 

“We love proving people wrong. It feels great, coaches build the culture around where every single one of us have had times where we’ve been doubted. So this is just another one of the obstacles we overcame,” Domask said. 

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Brown said the Salukis were trying to prove those who picked against SIU wrong today. 

“We don’t feel like we need everybody to think we’re gonna win every game we just have to believe in ourselves. So, just proving what we know to everybody, especially national media and putting everybody on notice and playing a really good game,” Brown said. 

Domask opened the scoring on the Salukis first possession. Butlers Senior Forward Bryce Nze was able to quickly respond to tie the game at two a minute in.

Brown then got an and one to put the Salukis up 5-2. The Bulldogs responded with a 9-0 run to take an 11-5 lead over the Salukis.

The teams went back and forth with Butler getting a 19-11 lead with 13:31 left in the first half after a three point play by Harris. 

The Salukis then turned the game around completely with a quick six point run to cut the Bulldogs lead to two. Then after a near three minute scoreless drought by both teams Domask hit a three pointer to give the Salukis a 20-19 lead with just under nine minutes left in the half. 

The Salukis didn’t stop there as they quickly added seven more to their lead behind four points by freshman guard Dalton Banks and a three pointer by Brown. 

A made jumper by Golden finally ended the Salukis streak after 16 straight points. Though SIU then responded with another ten point run to extend the lead to 16. The Bulldogs were able to get the last three points of the half from Golden to cut the lead at halftime to 13 at 37-24. 

The second half started out with both teams scoring quite a bit early with the Salukis having a 51-33 lead after a Trent Brown three at 15:48 left in the game. 

Butler started to cut into the lead with a 15-5 run to get the game to 56-48 with 13 of those points coming from Harris. 

A pull-up jumper by sophomore guard Lance Jones got the Salukis back up 10 but the Bulldogs quickly responded with a three pointer from Nze and Harris layup to cut the lead to five points with under seven minutes remaining. 

With 2:40 left Brown converted a four point play and just over a minute later Domask put the salukis up 10 on a jumper.

Butler looked out of the game with 90 seconds left but were able to get six straight points all off of free throws to cut the lead to four with 29 seconds left. Jones then went one-for-two from the free throw line just a second later

With 18 seconds left Harris made a layup to get it as close as three but sophomore guard Ben Harvey made two free throws to get the lead back to five. Golden then made a layup to cut the lead to four with six seconds left. 

On the next inbounds pass the ball was thrown to Domask who immediately slipped and was called for a travel with four seconds left which gave the Bulldogs a chance to tie the game and force overtime. 

Off the inbounds pass freshman forward JaKobe Koles got the shot off but it went off the rim and out to give the Salukis a narrow 76-73 win.

The Salukis will look to Missouri Valley Conference play for the rest of the season with their conference season starting on Sunday Dec. 27 at 3 p.m. against Evansville. The Salukis will then host Evansville the next day Monday Dec.28 at 5 p.m.

Sports reporter Ryan Scott can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @RyanscottDE. 

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