Lowery looks to shake up lineup

By Gus Bode

Though the nucleus of three returning starters has been constant for the SIU men’s basketball team since 2005, coach Chris Lowery said all bets are off in regard to his rotation of players.

Two Salukis started for the first time in SIU’s first exhibition game of the season, a 74-38 victory over King, and 11 players entered the game for at least five minutes. Lowery said he expects to try a variety of rotations again when the team faces Lincoln Memorial in exhibition play Sunday.

Lowery said every spot in the starting five – even those held consistently by junior guard Bryan Mullins and senior forwards Randal Falker and Matt Shaw for two seasons – is up for competition.


“That’s the whole point,” Lowery said. “I want to see what lineups make us the best, period, as a team.”

Lowery’s choices to start the King game in the absence of departed seniors Jamaal Tatum and Tony Young were senior guard Tyrone Green and junior guard Wesley Clemmons.

Green played only 19 minutes after getting in foul trouble early, but Clemmons played a team-high 31 minutes. Shaw, Mullins and Falker played 28, 27 and 20 minutes respectively.

Leading the way off the bench in terms of playing time were freshmen Carlton Fay, who recorded 11 points and seven rebounds in his first 20 minutes as a Saluki, and Brandon Wood, who went 1-3 from the arc in 18 minutes while turning the ball over six times.

Lowery said his lineup is far from being etched in stone, especially after inconsistent play on offense against an inferior King team.

“Guys who so-called score points were not good. Stats don’t mean everything,” Lowery said. “We’re better than those guys, and that was a simple thing. Some guys had stats, which meant that from a fan’s perspective they had a great game, but in all reality it wasn’t very good.”

Green said the three fouls limited his ability to contribute in his first start, and he knows his presence in the starting lineup is not guaranteed after one game.


“It goes week by week. The guys who bring it in practices and work hard are probably going to be the guys who play or even start,” Green said.

Green also said he needs to improve his offensive efficiency, especially at the charity stripe, where he went 3-5. The Salukis as a whole shot a meager 58.8 percent from the free throw line.

Another somewhat-new face in the lineup was sophomore Josh Bone, who played 18 minutes after averaging only 9.4 in 20 games last season while plagued with a foot injury. Bone scored a team-high 13 points and shot 75 percent from beyond the three-point arc during Saturday’s victory.

Bone said he is not looking to prove himself or earn a spot in the up-for-grabs starting rotation in the exhibition games. He simply wants to win the game, he said.

“We come out with the mentality to beat our opponent, just like every time,” Bone said.

Bone and the Salukis tip off their final exhibition game against Lincoln Memorial at 2:05 p.m. Sunday at the SIU Arena.

Sean McGahan can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 269 or [email protected].