Daily Egyptian

What we learned from SIU’s loss to Evansville

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

SIU men’s basketball suffered a devastating 83-71 loss against Evansville on Saturday. Here’s what we learned.

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1. Evansville could be dancing in March

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The Purple Aces were picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll and this season they’ve shown why they’re worthy of the selection. Led by senior guard D.J. Balentine, Evansville has a 22-7 overall record and is 11-5 in the conference. Wichita State remains the favorite to win the conference tournament but don’t count this team out just yet.

Balentine is in the top-5 in the nation in scoring and senior center Egidijus Mockevicius leads the nation with 13.9 rebounds per game.This team looks hungry to make its first tournament appearance since 1999. The Purple Aces have a mix of veterans and role players to be a sleeper pick.

2. SIU will have to win the tourney to have a shot

With the loss, SIU will likely be the third seed at the MVC tournament and will need to win the whole show to have a shot at March Madness. It will be tough since SIU hasn’t been able to beat the top two teams. The Salukis lost to the Shockers in last year’s MVC tournament, 56-45.

3. Life after Beane is going to be tough

Senior guard Anthony Beane had another good showing scoring 22 points, but SIU didn’t get a lot of help aside from him.

Junior forward Bola Olaniyan finished with a double-double, scoring 13 points and 12 rebounds, but points were hard to come by outside of those two players. The Salukis shot only 36 percent from the field and were dominated in the paint, getting outscored 42-22.

SIU didn’t have a lead the entire game. If the team is struggling this badly with Beane, life without him is going to be tough.

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

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