Domask leads comeback for Salukis’ seventh-straight win


Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphotography

Marcus Domask (1) leaps to approach the basket against the defending Bulldogs of Drake University Jan. 4, 2023 at the Banterra Center in Carbondale, Ill.

The Salukis had two streaks on the line entering Wednesday night’s game against Drake. One was guaranteed to continue, while the other would be broken. As the buzzer sounded in the Banterra Center to cement in SIU’s 53-49 win, the positive streak for the Salukis survived.

Southern Illinois improved to 12-4, 4-1 and pushed its winning streak to seven, tied for the most under head coach Bryan Mullins. In beating Drake, the team also snapped a five-game losing streak against the Bulldogs spanning the past two seasons.

“[Drake’s] a talented team, and they’re gonna be there at the end,” Mullins said. “Just for us to get this win, I’m proud of our guys.”


Marcus Domask added another heroic effort to his incredible season, with 21 points and eight rebounds. His game-high in scoring included a 10-for-11 night from the free throw line, which proved to be the difference in the outcome.

Down the stretch, Domask completely took over the game. He was responsible for all of the points in a 15-6 Saluki run to end the game, and pulled down the game-sealing rebound on Drake’s final possession.

In the closing minutes, there was a three-and-a-half minute span where both teams were held scoreless, combining for five missed shots and five turnovers. Domask ended SIU’s cold stretch with a baseline jumper to take their first lead of the half.

“A drought like that, you don’t want to be the first team to break,“ Domask said. “In that type of moment, that bucket when nobody can get a bucket hurts, so our ability to get that before them was big.”

The Salukis took the lead for good with 31 seconds remaining, when Domask pulled up for a three at the end of the shot clock after tough defense had prevented him from getting a good look inside.

Dalton Banks (3) attempts to pass the ball off while in the air around guarding Drake Bulldog Eric Northweather (35) Jan. 4, 2023 at the Banterra Center in Carbondale, Ill. (Lylee Gibbs)

JD Muila carried over his dominance in the paint from the previous game, tying a career-high with 10 rebounds on Wednesday after pulling down nine on Sunday against Belmont. His 19 total rebounds across the last two games is the most Muila has gotten in any two-game stretch.

“After Christmas, [Muila] was pretty motivated,” Mullins said. “He’s had a great couple weeks here. We’ve talked, and he wasn’t satisfied with the last couple weeks of Christmas, and took a lot upon his shoulders and really put some extra work in. He’s had a great mindset.”


Drake started off hot, with an early 14-0 run to give the Bulldogs a commanding 16-3 lead only seven minutes into the game. Despite another tough shooting night for the Salukis, their defense once again allowed them to claw back into the game.

“I think that speaks to our depth and our resilience of this team,” Domask said. “There was a time in the game where I bet people in here started doubting if we were gonna come out with the W.”

It is difficult to understate how big this win is for the Salukis. Not only were they able to beat the team that had eliminated them from Arch Madness ten months ago, but they proved their worth in a difficult Missouri Valley Conference. Drake was a near unanimous favorite to win the conference at the beginning of the year.

“It’s gonna take a lot to become the best team in the league on paper when it’s all said and done, but I think we have what it takes,” Domask said. “I think we’ve just gotta continue to get better every single day.”

This upcoming road trip for Southern Illinois may be the most important of the year. The team visits Northern Iowa (7-8, 3-2) on Saturday, followed by a rematch with the Valley leader Indiana State (12-4, 5-0) on Jan. 11. The Sycamores remain one game above a crowded tie for second place, and handed the Salukis their lone conference loss just before their current winning streak.

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

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