Daily Egyptian

What we learned from SIU’s 76-55 loss to Wichita State

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

SIU men’s basketball fell to Wichita State 76-55 on Wednesday at Charles Hoch Arena in Wichita, Kan. Here are some takeaways from the game.

1. The Shockers experience and tournament success leads to stronger play.

Senior guards Ron Baker, Fred Van Vleet and Evan Wessel have all played together since their freshman year in 2013 when the Shockers went to the Final Four. They’ve made an NCAA tournament appearance every year since. These three know about what it takes to win and it shows, and it has rubbed off on their teammates. They consistently outplayed SIU, beating the Salukis in every statistical category except rebounds. The Shockers 11-0 start in MVC play is the best since the 2013-14 season when they went undefeated in conference play.

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2. The Salukis can’t shoot poorly if they hope to remain competitive

SIU shot 31 percent from the field and 26 percent from the 3-point line. Junior guard Leo Vincent went 0-7 from the floor in 17 minutes played. In a game against Northern Iowa he was 1-7 in 24 minutes, and Salukis lost then, too. Some of that has to do with how good Wichita State is defensively, ranking first in the conference in shot defense and holding teams to 41 percent shooting. But there were many times when the Salukis would heave up a long 3-pointer with time left on the shot clock.

3. Weak nonconference schedule is starting to haunt Salukis.

When SIU began the year 11-2, many people thought the Salukis were a different team from the squad that finished 12-21 in 2014-15. However, a soft nonconference schedule, which ranked 298 out of 348 college programs, elevated their perceived ability. Even when the team loses to a better school it learns what it needs to improve on. This team doesn’t look confident or ready to play against the big dogs in the MVC, as it lost two of its last three to the top two teams in the conference.

4. It can’t be the Anthony Beane show every night.

Senior guard Anthony Beane is good. Really good. But he can’t be the guy you call on to score all of your points. Beane got some buckets, scoring 20 points on 6-17 shooting, but he was the only one in double figures while the team struggled to help. This team has shown it has other scoring options, such as and junior guards Mike Rodriguez and Vincent, but they need to be more consistent for the Salukis to succeed.

5. It was ugly, but SIU can only go up from here.

After a 83-58 blow out at home against the Shockers on Jan. 9, many predicted similar results. ESPN predicted a 17-point win for WSU. Wednesday’s game was closer but the results remained the same. That being said, the Salukis didn’t show signs of giving up and fought throughout. Their resiliency showed on the boards: SIU out rebounded the Shockers 48-31, highlighted by senior forward Bola Olaniyan’s career-high 16 rebounds. The Salukis still have a favorable schedule down the stretch and have an outside chance at clinching the No. 2 seed for the MVC Tournament. They remain in second place in the conference, so this loss doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as the score does. 

Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or 618-534-3303

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