M bball: Threes and D

By Gus Bode

The SIU men’s basketball team and Bradley sit on opposite ends of the spectrum – one team prides itself on stifling opponents while the other scores points and hoists 3-pointers in bunches.

The Salukis entered Wednesday’s game against the Braves with the fourth stingiest defense in the nation and tops in the conference, allowing 55.8 points per game. Bradley entered the contest boasting the top scoring offense in the MVC at 76.5 points per game.

Bradley also entered the game at SIU Arena leading the MVC in 3-pointers made (258), attempted (599) and three point percentage (.431).


“They’re so tough to deal with,” SIU coach Chris Lowery said. “They screen so much out front and they really make you rotate and they really make you run long ways to help.”

In SIU’s last game, a 54-46 win at Wichita State Feb. 3, the Shockers shot 2-for-11 on 3-pointers while Indiana State shot 26.7 percent on threes at SIU Jan. 31.

However, the Salukis allowed their opponents to shoot a combined 73.1 percent from beyond the arc in the previous two games against Illinois State and Northern Iowa.

“Obviously when people shoot well against you, you got to change things up,” Lowery said.

The Braves hit 3-of-22 from downtown in Wednesday’s game, including 1-of-10 in the first half, and didn’t convert a three until 8 minutes, 33 seconds remained in the first half.

“We just really tried to sit on the three-point line and make them do stuff inside the arc and dribble a little bit deeper on their penetration,” Lowery said. “We’re not being lazy on our rotations, we’re not pointing fingers on our rotations, we’re doing what we need to do.”

Bradley began the second half missing its first five 3-pointers in the first five minutes, and SIU missed its eight second half threes.


“Thought we had some good looks,” Braves coach Jim Les said. “Sometimes they don’t go in.”

With less than four minutes remaining in the first half, SIU guard Tony Young drove to the basket and hit the side of the backboard with his shot.

Young, however, picked up his own rebound and made a three from the corner with two seconds on the shot clock. He hit another 3-pointer on the Salukis’ next possession to make the score 33-14, SIU.

The senior guard was 4-for-4 from behind the arc in the first half and finished the game with a season high 25 points.

“After that first shot you can tell whether you’re going to be on or not,” Young said. “Even if you miss you just got to keep shooting.”