Last Minute Heroics help Dawgs win vs Alcorn State

By Joseph Bernard, Staff Reporter

On Black Friday, SIU’s Men’s Basketball team (3-3) hosted the winless Alcorn State Bravehawks (0-5). With a 40 point second half performance, the Salukis came back from being down 14 points at halftime to win 62-59.

The Salukis were highlighted by two twenty point performers in junior point guard Lance Jones and junior forward Marcus Domask. Domask put up a team leading 24 points on the night, while Jones was far behind with 21 of his own points. The pair accounted for almost three quarters of SIU’s points on the night. Domask also led the team in blocks and assists with four each, while Jones led in steals with four as well.

Also worth mentioning was junior forward J.D Muila, who led the team in rebounds on the night with seven. Muila also tallied three points and two blocks.


A back and forth start with ties at 6-6 and 8-8, continued with an 11-2 run for the Bravehawks and earned them a 21-10 lead halfway into the first half. Alcorn kept pushing their lead and earned up to a 17 point lead at 30-13 with five minutes left of the half and the Salukis were on upset alert from then on. They ended the first half down by 14 at 36-22.

The second half was when SIU tried to get caught up, but even at the start of the second half SIU was still struggling. The Bravehawks kept their lead up to 16 points at 46-30. But the comeback was on and SIU 14-3 run over the next seven minutes to keep the game competitive at 49-47.

A back and forth couple of minutes kept the score close and within a 4 point Bravehawk lead, but a layup by Jones with 2 minutes left gave SIU their first lead since their first points of the game. A Bravehawk three-pointer and two free throws earned them a three point lead with 22 seconds left but after a foul on Alcorn that led to a free throw made by Jones, the lead was cut to two points.

The Bravehawks got the ball back and tried to seal it, but Jones was quick enough to steal the ball and go in for the game-tying layup with 14 seconds left. A foul against Alcorn gave Muila a chance to take the lead with 12 seconds left. However, Muila missed both tries, but luckily for him, Jones was their for the rebound and won the game on a quick layup. A foul on the Bravehawks quickly after led to a Domask free throw and SIU won the game 62-59.

Domask said the message in the locker room by coach Mullins was clear when they were down by so much.

“He felt like they just wanted it more than us at that point and we agreed with him. They were outplaying us, not even just skill-wise. He told us that the second half would be a character-half and we would learn a lot about our team and we ended up playing well,” Domask said.

After being down by so much when it wasn’t necessarily expected for them to be, Domask said the mindset was still fairly simple.


“The Mindset was just to fight. That was coach’s message and that was our message. We all felt like we were a better team than Alcorn State, we just had to fight it and show them,” Domask said.

Domask also credits his team for the effort they put into the fight throughout the night.

“Credit to my teammates to just keep playing. Lance came up big for us when he hit that last free throw, I know he was struggling, but we all believed in him. It was a heck of a finish,” Domask said.

Coach Mullins said he was proud of the fight he saw in the team’s performance tonight.

“Proud of the guys for fighting back, proud of them for the response. We had to find a way to win that game and thats what I talked about the whole game to them, that we gotta keep doing it possession by possession. There are no 10-point baskets. It was all about character and our guys stepping up. They understood the challenge, but we have to take this game and learn from it,” Mullins said.

Mullins had no words for the awful start to the game that they wish went differently.

“I think it was a lack of energy and focus a little bit. Can’t really explain it but the preparation was good, we just came out flat,” Mullins said.

Mullins said it came down to their pride when figuring out a way to comeback during halftime.

“They love representing this university and I talked to them about that jersey. There’s a lot of pride when you put that jersey on. Nobody should come into our arena and outrebound, outtough and outplay us. There’s a difference between just playing hard and really competing and I thought everyone really stepped up,” Mullins said.

Mullins also said the win was huge for the team considering their previous two losses at the Paradise Jam Tournament.

“It was huge that we were back at home. We go into every game expecting to win and we got an opportunity to win and we need to be able to come through especially after some tough losses. We didn’t want to go into Evansville losing this one,” Mullins said.

SIU will continue their season next Wednesday with a road trip to Indiana to take on the Evansville Aces with a 6 p.m tip-off.

Sports reporter Joseph Bernard can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @Jojobernard2001.

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