Salukis move into first-place tie after knocking off Sycamores

By Gus Bode

SIU uses 19-1 run to knock off Indiana State, extend home winning streak to 21

If you look at the box score from Saturday night’s game between SIU and Indiana State, Saluki guard Bryan Turner’s numbers are not going to jump out at you.

In 15 minutes of play, the junior had just three points on only two shots to go with his three rebounds, one steal and one assist.


What the box score does not say is just how big those three points really were in the Salukis’ 60-48 victory.

The two teams traded buckets throughout the first 30 minutes of the game, with no team jumping ahead by more than four points all night.

Indiana State had just gone ahead 40-37, their biggest lead of the night, with about 10 minutes left when Turner’s moment came.

Turner took a pass and launched away from beyond the three-point line, drilling the shot and starting a 19-1 run by the Salukis that ultimately won the game and extended Division I’s fifth longest home winning streak to 21 games. SIU also extended its home winning streak against Indiana State to 22. The Sycamores’ last win in Carbondale came on Jan. 15, 1981.

SIU head coach Bruce Weber admitted after the game that he cringed when he saw the shot go up, but said Turner felt no hesitation and was confident it would go in.

“He said he hit one against Illinois State, the same situation, same side, almost the same shot when we were struggling and that really kind of got us going,” Weber said.

Turner was not the only member of the bench to step up big. Josh Warren scored six straight points during the run and Brad Korn had five points and three key offensive boards.


Turner said even though they sit the bench most of the game, the reserves know they will get their chance to impact the game, and they have to be ready for that moment.

“I think everybody knows that at a certain part in the game, our number is going to be called so we’re just going to have to go out there and produce no matter what,” Turner said.

On a day when Kent Williams and Darren Brooks combined for 11 points and shot just 3-of-18 from the field, the Salukis needed someone else to step up and make baskets against the stingy Indiana State defense.

Besides the solid play of the bench, starters Jermaine Dearman and Stetson Hairston also stepped up big and were crucial in the win.

Dearman, fresh off of a one-point performance Wednesday night against Northern Iowa, scored 22 points, 10 of which came during a five-minute stretch in the second half where the senior forward seemed unstoppable on the floor. Hairston finished the game with 12 points, five assists and four rebounds.

Hairston said he felt one of the biggest differences for the Salukis (12-4, 7-1 Missouri Valley Conference) in the second half was that they took better shots and all one has to do is look at the numbers.

The Salukis went into halftime with a slim 21-20 lead, but shot a pitiful 32 percent from the field. In the second half, SIU came out and made smarter decisions and shot 58 percent of 14-of-24 from the field and was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line.

“Jermaine had mostly lay-ups, Josh had a few lay-ups and our threes were open and we were just taking better shots and I think that in the first half, a few of those shots didn’t fall,” Hairston said.

Even though the Sycamores, who allow an average of 66 points a game, are thought of as the stronger defensive team, it was the Salukis who stepped up and forced 16 Sycamore turnovers as opposed to just nine by SIU.

For the game the Salukis also grabbed 18 defensive rebounds and allowed just nine offensive boards by the Sycamores (5-13, 1-6 MVC).

“That’s a big part of the game,” Dearman said. “You can’t score without the ball and if you have a lot of turnovers it’s just hard to beat teams regardless of if you’re playing at home or away.”

With the win, the Salukis move into a first place tie in the conference with 17-2 Creighton, which suffered its first conference loss last Wednesday against Evansville, as both teams have a 7-1 mark in MVC play.

Reporter Jens Deju can be reached at [email protected]