Domask’s heroics lead SIU past Cal Baptist in OT

Southern+Illinois+University+Saluki+number+one+forward%2C+Marcus+Domask%2C+runs+for+a+basket+basket+during+the+basketball+game+against+the+Evansville+Purple+Aces+in+the+SIU+Banterra+Center.+The+game+ended+53+to+70+with+SIU+taking+the+win+on+Thursday+night%2C+February+20%2C+2020.

Nicole Tillberg | @nicoletillberg315

Southern Illinois University Saluki number one forward, Marcus Domask, runs for a basket basket during the basketball game against the Evansville Purple Aces in the SIU Banterra Center. The game ended 53 to 70 with SIU taking the win on Thursday night, February 20, 2020.

Marcus Domask had a night to remember for the Salukis, as he scored half of his team’s points in a 64-61 overtime win over the Cal Baptist Lancers during SIU’s second midnight game in three days on Wednesday night.

Scoring a career-high 32 points, Domask shot 12-for-18 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds while playing nearly the entire game.

“As a player or a coach, I think it’s one of the special performances that I’ve been a part of as a Saluki,” head coach Bryan Mullins said.

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A key moment in the final period came after the Lancers opened with four points in the first 76 seconds. Domask hit a three-pointer to halt Cal Baptist’s run, and would score the rest of SIU’s seven overtime points.

“We’ve got a team full of guys that know how to play,” Domask said. “I trust them, and they trust me, and when we’re connected we can get some good wins.”

Only two other players made a basket after halftime. One of those players was Clarence Rupert, whose 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting was second-best on the team. Rupert made a crucial shot through contact with less than 30 seconds left in regulation, and put the Salukis up three ahead of Cal Baptist’s game-tying shot to force overtime.

The other Saluki to make a shot in the second half was freshman Cade Hornecker. In a game where the Lancers had two players tally double-digit rebounds, the 7-foot Hornecker gave Southern an inside presence on both ends that they have lacked since the injury to Scottie Ebube.

“Cade can be that type of guy that can come in and give us a lift if we need something like that,” Domask said.

Similarly to Hornecker, redshirt freshman Foster Wonders came up big for the Salukis after not playing in the UNLV game. Wonders hit two three-pointers in the first half for a team that otherwise shot just 27% from distance.

“His ability to just come in with ultimate confidence, green light, hitting shots, it’s huge,” Domask said. “We just have guys that can play.”

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The starting lineup, aside from Domask, scored just 11 total points on 3-for-19 shooting. Rupert, Hornecker and Wonders all came off the bench in this game, and may have earned more playing time with their performances. The latter two only combined for 12 total minutes on Wednesday.

“We don’t win the game without those guys,” Mullins said.

Southern was able to overcome a massive rebounding disadvantage, as the Lancers won that category 45-30. Cal Baptist pulled down 15 offensive boards, which allowed them to convert with 17 second-chance points.

Southern improved to 4-2 on the season, splitting its two SoCal Challenge contests. The Lancers fell to 3-3, dropping back-to-back overtime games since their upset over Washington a week ago.

The Thanksgiving holiday will give SIU some time to recover ahead of its Valley schedule opener in Evansville on Wednesday. The Purple Aces are 1-5, and were the only Valley team to finish 2021-22 with single-digit wins.

Staff reporter Brandyn Wilcoxen can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BrandynWilcoxen.

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