Big first half run gives Saluki Men’s Basketball the win over Bradley


Subash Kharel | @pics.leaks

Steven Verplancken Jr. (22) dribbles past the opponents to setup a way to score during the SIU vs Northern Iowa basketball game Jan. 31, 2021, at the SIU Bantera Center in Carbondale, Ill. Subash Kharel | @pics.leaks

By Joseph Bernard and Ryan Scott, Staff Reporter/Sports Editor

A huge first half effort for the Salukis overwhelmed the Bradley Braves Tuesday night at the Banterra Center. The Salukis downed the Braves 65-57 as they head into the final stretch of the regular season.

Highlighting the performance for the Salukis tonight was junior forward Marcus Domask, senior guard Ben Coupet Jr, and junior guard Lance Jones, who all combined for 55 of the Salukis 65 points on the night. Domask led with 25 points on the night with three rebounds and a block. Coupet scored 19 points with seven rebounds, a block, a steal, and an assist while Jones had 11 points on the night, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

Coach Bryan Mullins talked about how efficient Domask and Coupet were tonight and said they both were great at feeding off the play of their teammates.


“I thought both of them ran the floor and the offense. They were both on the ball and stuck with those guys. You know they didn’t catch it, hold it, and let the defense get set up. They either shot it, drove it down, or passed it. I thought they did a great job of playing off others,” Mullins said.

Despite the performance, the Salukis didn’t get off to the hot start that they wanted to. The Braves scored the first 11 points after seven minutes of play-time and it didn’t look pretty. Then, a switch flipped on for Southern, scoring the next 14 points to take the lead midway through the first.

Mullins said it was their defense that helped ignite the run after getting down by so much early.

“We kept saying at timeouts how we just need to play at our pace and generate some offense from our defense. I thought our ball pressure got better there. Once we saw a couple go in, it was able to open up for everyone else,” Mullins said.

Coupet said it was as simple as keeping on going that kept their confidence after getting down by 11.

“Honestly, just playing the game, you just can never lose confidence. You just got to always know to get back in the game and make it Alright,” Coupet said.

Domask said there were a lot of open looks early on that just didn’t fall the Salukis way to get them down that much early.


“Obviously you never want to be down 11-0 but I felt like we had a lot of good looks that didn’t go in and the coaches teach everybody to take open looks and eventually they’re gonna fall, they did,” Domask said.

It was back and forth for a bit, swapping baskets between teams, until SIU doubled their point total with another long 16-0 run to go up 32-15 before Bradley even scored again. Keeping it up as the half began to come closer, Domask nailed a three as the buzzer sounded for the half to go up 19 heading into the locker room.

Domask said it was Coupet’s run that lit the Salukis up to go on the huge 16-0 run before the half.

“That was big for us. It gave us a lot of energy and the crowd going. We just kept feeding off each other just like we’ve done before at this place this year,” Domask said.

The Braves, looking for some answers out of the half, kept stumbling as the deficit continued to grow for them. Domask nailed another three five minutes out of the break for SIU to go up 25 at 52-27, their largest lead of the night.

However, the Braves would find a way to make it interesting as they kept marching on. They would go on a 16-3 run late in the second half, bringing it within seven at 54-61 with two minutes to play. They would get it as close as a five point deficit after a three pointer, but the fouls started coming in and the Salukis held on to seal the deal with a 65-57 final score

The Salukis will continue their conference play for the last stretch of the season on a trip to Terre Haute Indiana against the Sycamores this Saturday, with a tip-off at 12 p.m.

Sports reporter Joseph Bernard can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @Jojobernard2001. To stay up to date on all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.