Daily Egyptian

What we learned from SIU’s win over Drake

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

SIU men’s basketball took down the Drake Bulldogs, 75-60 on Saturday at SIU Arena. Here’s what we learned from the win.

1. Drake is still a year or two away from being competitive.

With only one senior on the roster, guard Karl Madison, Drake is one of the youngest teams in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bulldogs are still developing a younger group of players that could lead them back into contention for a conference title. Sophomore guard Reed Timmer is averaging 17.6 points a game and freshman Dominik Olejniczak had 10 points Saturday in the loss.

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Drake should be a much-improved team next season compared to the 6-20 record it has this season.

2. Senior guard Anthony Beane is not only a great Saluki, but great MVC player.

Newly inducted Hall of Famer Harold Bardo said Friday that Beane is a very special player and had one of the better jump shots he’s seen. Beane’s shot was on display Saturday as he finished with 31 points on 12-20 shooting for his seventh game of 30 points or more this season.

Furthermore, Beane became just the second player in program history to score 1,000 points against MVC teams. Former Saluki Kent Williams is the only other player to accomplish the feat.

He is also the first player since former NBA talent Troy Hudson in 1996 to score 30 points in consecutive games. Whether Beane is selected in the NBA Draft in June or not, he definitely has the potential to play at the pro level.

MORE: Best photos from Drake-SIU | Video Recap

3. SIU can lock teams down defensively.

The Salukis held Drake to just 50 points Saturday, which is 18 points less than the Bulldogs’ season average. This was the least amount of points SIU had given up against an opponent since holding Bradley to 44 in a win on Jan. 6.

Led by junior guard Tyler Smithpeters, the Dawgs also held Timmer, the Bulldogs leading scorer, to just nine points. Drake shot 7 percent from the 3-point line. 

If SIU can play defense like they played Saturday, it has a chance to shut down teams and build momentum towards the conference tournament.

4. We cannot sleep on this team.

With four games remaining before the Missouri Valley Conference tournament starts, now is the time for SIU to get hot. The win Saturday gave the Salukis their 20th victory — the first time they reached that plateau since the 2006-07 season.

With a rematch against Evansville (19-7, 8-5 MVC) looming, SIU has a chance to snag the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament if it wins out. The team has shown it can play with anybody in the Valley beating everyone once except for Wichita State. With the way this season has gone in college basketball — six AP top-25 No. 1 teams have lost — anything could happen.

SIU is back in action against Bradley at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at SIU Arena.

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

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