Daily Egyptian

Scouting the Bulldogs

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

Fresh off what Barry Hinson called “the best win to date”, SIU men’s basketball will return home Saturday afternoon trying to continue their success.

Even with Drake (6-19, 1-12 Missouri Valley Conference) having the worst record in the conference, Hinson is confident that the Salukis (19-7, 8-5 MVC) will take the Bulldogs seriously.

“Loyola at home, that’s all I have to tell the guys,” he said in reference to SIU’s 73-59 defeat by Loyola Feb. 6. “This time in the year, records don’t matter.”

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Drake’s lone conference win came against Bradley, who is ninth in the conference, at home on Jan. 30. The Bulldogs’ 12 conference losses are by an average of 13.9 points.

In their previous matchup with the Salukis, the Bulldogs erased a 13-point lead, but lost by five thanks in part to senior guard Anthony Beane’s 26-point outing.

Sophomore guard Reed Timmer led Drake with a game-high 27 points and is the Valley’s third-leading scorer at 17.6 points per game.

Timmer has averaged 23.7 points in his three games against SIU .

“I think that we are his favorite team to play against since he has been in grade school,” Hinson said.

Despite his best efforts, Hinson said the team could slow him down if it pays attention to one crucial fact.

“The biggest thing that we have to realize is which hand he likes to go with,” he said. “That will really help us if we pay attention to the scouting report and figure out that this kid is left-handed. I say that with sarcasm but a little bit of truth, too.”

Drake coach Ray Giacoletti has tweaked his lineup recently, starting 7-foot freshman center Dominik Olejniczak the last two games in place of fellow 7-foot center, junior Jacob Enevold.

Olejniczak has averaged 11 points and 4.5 rebounds in his two starts. Enevold averages 5.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Giacoletti has also sent Enevold out at the same time as Olejniczak, which would give Drake a big size advantage on the Salukis. The tallest Saluki to average more than 10 minutes per game is 6-foot-8 redshirt freshman forward Austin Weiher.

Guarding the second 7-footer would likely be junior forward Sean O’Brien’s responsibility, and Hinson said he’s up to the task.

“I have great confidence that Sean can guard a 7-footer,” he said, “I think that he is our best defensive player. If they want to run a 7-footer at Sean, I am all for it.”

When the Bulldogs do run out the larger lineup, Hinson said to expect to see the Salukis turn up the pace to try to outrun Drake’s big men.

The Bulldogs are the best 3-point shooting team in the Valley at 39.6 percent, but will be going up against the Salukis’ third-best 3-point defense that has allowed 32.8 percent shooting from long range.

There are four Bulldogs who shoot over 35 percent from behind-the-arc in MVC games: Billy Wampler (41.2 percent), Graham Woodward (38.9), Ore Arogundade (36.8) and Timmer (36.6 percent). The four combine for an average of five 3-pointers per game.

If the Salukis are able to stop Drake’s corps of outside shooters and limit its big men from dominating down in the paint, then they should leave the gym with another winning streak underway.

The battle of the MVC dogs is 3 p.m. Saturday at SIU Arena.

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307.

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