Salukis outlast Valparaiso on the road 66-62


Jared Treece | @JaredTreece

Freshmen Marcus Domask drives towards the basket SIU’s 63-50 win vs. Valparaiso on Tuesday, Jan 7, 2020 at the Banterra Center.

Southern Illinois men’s basketball (20-8, 12-5) got back in the win column Tuesday night against the Valparaiso Beacons (11-17, 5-12)

The Beacons showed their toughness on their home court, proving their 8-5 home record was no fluke. This season marks the 31st consecutive for Valparaiso finishing above .500 at the Athletics-Recreation Center. But the Salukis were able to fend them off and deny the upset attempt from the Beacons.

Being the two teams’ one and only matchup this season, there was a clear offensive struggle in the first half. SIU started off the game with an 8-0 run during the first 4:20 of the game. But the tide turned when Valparaiso went on a dominant run on their own shortly after, holding Southern scoreless for about 5 minutes where they eventually knotted the game at 12.


SIU’s leading scorer, Marcus Domask (16.9 PPG), finally got the Salukis back on the board by hitting a three to reclaim the lead. But this three from Domask was the only of its kind in the first, as both teams locked down defensively on the perimeter. SIU’s #1 scoring defense in the Missouri Valley Conference shined again contributing to hold the Beacons to 26.1% shooting from the field.

“I thought our defense in the first half was outstanding,” SIU head coach Bryan Mullins said.

It led to a 15-7 run by Southern into the half to lead 27-19. They also dominated in the paint, finding favorable looks for Clarence Rupert who put together 14 points while shooting 6-for-8 from the field.

“Clarence gave us great energy at the start of both halves, “Mullins said. “Marcus (Domask) and some of the guards X (avier Johnson), Lance (Jones), they did a good job finding him.”

The Beacons even collected 8 blocks while the Salukis only managed to reject 1 shot. But the real difference in the game was the non-ability for Valparaiso to create a balanced offense. Outside of their leading scorers Ben Krikke and Kobe King who both put up 24 points, no one else on the Beacons scored more than 5 points. It became

Valparaiso were able to fight their way back into the game during the second half, eventually claiming their first lead of 49-48. Krikke and King became a hard tandem to stop on both sides of the ball, with Krikke racking up 5 blocks and King securing 5 rebounds. A spark was then lit for the Salukis who went on a 11-0 run to take the lead back and never relinquish it.

“We played with poise…we were able to get stops and turn our defense to offense,” Mullins said.


Unselfish basketball was key as Jones, the Saluki’s 2nd leading scorer this season, was held scoreless in the first half which freed up opportunities for Rupert. Southern was also more efficient on their turnovers and got back on the defensive side of the ball when they committed them. They had 13 turnovers to Valparaiso’s 12 during the game but were able to capitalize more on the mistakes of their opponent.

Three-point shooting was essentially nonexistent in this particular matchup as both teams only shot 2-for-14 (14.3%). This powered the Saluki’s ability to put pressure on Beacon scorers other than Krikke and King to beat them. It was an important win for SIU to turn the page after a rough loss to Drake last Saturday.

Now, Southern will head back home to await the Bradley Braves (19-8, 12-4) for a huge matchup at the Banterra Center this Sunday, February 19.