Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Sharpshooting Salukis tie record for most threes in win over SLU

Saluki men’s basketball improves to 5-2
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Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto
Troy D’Amico (0) holds up a three from across the court after scoring for SIU Dec. 2, 2023 at Banterra Center in Carbondale, Illinois.

During their dominant 101-62 over Saint Louis University, the SIU men’s basketball team tied the program record for most three-pointers made in a game.

The Salukis poured in 18 threes, and shot a scorching 62% from beyond the arc. The win marked the first time they scored over 100 against a D1 team since 2017.

“We got good looks,” head coach Brian Mullins said. “We shot the ball uncharacteristically well… but I think a lot of threes that we got were catch-and-shoot threes. Guys were moving the ball, and we’ve got guys that can make shots.”

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Though the Salukis started the first half slowly, scoring only 11 points in the first seven minutes of action, they heated up quickly. They finished the half with 42 points, led once again by breakout senior Xavier Johnson’s 16 points. 

Johnson, who entered Saturday tied for 13th nationally in points per game, stayed hot in the second half, putting up another 15 points to complete his second 30-point game of the year. Junior forward Troy D’Amico finished with a career-high 20 points, and in one 40-second span in the second half, made three consecutive three-pointers.

D’Amico’s hot streak seemed to embolden the rest of the Salukis; including D’Amico’s threes, nine of the Salukis’ last 11 field goals were three-pointers, with the only exception being a thunderous putback dunk by Scottie Ebube and a smooth layup by Johnson.

Efficiency, and high efficiency at that, was the key to the night for the Dawgs. The team shot 66% from the field, and 62% from three. Junior forward Clarence Rupert finished with 14 points on a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, and Jovan Stulic finished with 14 while going 4-for-6, highlighted by going 3-for-5 from three-point land.

“When the team is moving the ball the way that we have a couple of games this year, I think we’re capable of being a really good team,” Mullins said.

Kennard Davis Jr. and Trent Brown, the other members of Mullins’ primary six-man rotation, finished with 11 and nine points respectively. Davis, a true freshman, played a career-high 33 minutes in just his second start as a Saluki.

While the offense was the star of the game, the Saluki defense also shined. The team grabbed 27 rebounds, forced 18 steals and was able to produce 29 points off turnovers.

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Mullins said, “Defensively, I think we did a really good job in the first half except for rebounding… It was one of our better first-half defensive games.”

Saturday was also the first game that the Banterra Center’s new video board was in use.

D’Amico said, “It’s awesome. Definitely boosted our arena to first in the Valley if it wasn’t already.”

The game represented a chance to get back on the right track after Tuesday’s road loss to Indiana State, and a good tune-up before the Salukis face off against Big XII opponent Oklahoma State in Carbondale on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the community, for the university, for our program to have a Power 5 team come here. Hopefully, we can sell this thing out on Tuesday night,” Mullins said.

Sports reporter Ryan Grieser can be reached at [email protected]. To stay up to date on all of your southern Illinois news, be sure to follow The Daily Egyptian on Facebook and @dailyegyptian on Twitter.

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