Daily Egyptian

Dawgs down Braves in sloppy matchup

Junior forward Sean O'Brien looks to make a pass during SIU’s 71-59 victory against Bradley on Feb. 17 at SIU Arena. O’Brien led the Salukis in scoring with 24 points in the game. 

Junior forward Sean O'Brien looks to make a pass during SIU’s 71-59 victory against Bradley on Feb. 17 at SIU Arena. O’Brien led the Salukis in scoring with 24 points in the game. 

By Benjamin Tucker, @BenTucker_DE

The Salukis found a way to win, even when their leading scorer, senior guard Anthony Beane, had a season-low six points.

Amid a sloppy game, junior forward Sean O’Brien cut though the Bradley defense for a game-high 24 points, one shy of tying his career high. Whether it was posting up Bradley’s bigs or shooting a mid-range jumper, O’Brien was feeling it all night. The Dawgs beat the Braves 71-59, in a game that was pretty close through out the first half.

The teams combined for more than 30 turnovers, but the Salukis got key contribution from their supporting cast. Junior center Bola Olanyian notched his fourth double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. 

Advertisement

Bradley (4-24, 2-13 Missouri Valley Conference) head coach Brian Wardle said O’Brien caused problems for his young team, one of the most inexperienced in the NCAA.

“Defensively, we had some mental breakdowns,” Wardle said. “On the post iso-play, O’Brien scored probably five layups. We went over that about 15 times in film. We obviously didn’t teach it enough.”

The Braves only played one non-freshman all game and were missing two key players, freshman forward Luke van Bree and senior guard Ka’Darryl Bell. Still, Wardle’s team shot 42.6 percent from the field and mustered 11 assists. 

Beane struggled all game with the Bradley defense. Beane didn’t score until he hit a 3-pointer with 3:46 left to play, which ignited the crowd. Even though the team’s leader had a rough game, Hinson said the Normal native’s mindset did not change during the game.

“I said ‘You’re okay, keep shooting it, you’ll be fine,’” Hinson said. “And he looked at me and said, ‘Coach, I’m not worried about it, we’re winning.’ That’s when you love being a head coach.”

Junior guard Mike Rodriguez was another Saluki who picked up slack for Beane’s lack of production. He scored his second-highest point total (14) since his first game as a Saluki against Air Force (15) on Nov. 13. 

The Dawgs (21-7, 10-5 MVC) are in third place in the conference. Drake is the only team with a worse in-conference record than the Braves.

Hinson said it is always great to get a win in February because this time of year requires teams to play their best basketball. The fiery coach said the best of the Salukis is yet to come.

“Here we go boys and girls — Missouri Valley basketball, where do you want to be?” Hinson said. “You want to be second, want to be third, want to be fourth, want to be fifth? The best part about this is we control our own destiny.”

SIU plays next at 3 p.m. Saturday at Evansville.

Ben Tucker can be reached at [email protected]

Advertisement

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




The student news site of Southern Illinois University