What we learned from SIU’s win over Indiana State

By Ben Tucker, @BenTucker_DE

1. The Salukis’ bench is a force.

Anyone watching the Saluki men play basketball notice one thing — that’s one productive bench. When junior center Bola Olanyian and senior guard Anthony Beane were forced out of the game early because of foul trouble, the Salukis had two players step up in a big way. Junior guard Leo Vincent and senior center Ibby Djimbe came off the bench ready to play less than 5 minutes into the game.

MORE: Salukis grind out win against Indiana State


SIU held its own while their two most dependable players were out of the game. Vincent had a team-high 18 points off the bench; the second time in the past three games he has led the team in scoring.

2. Leo Vincent will be the leading scorer next year.

When Coach Barry Hinson turned to Vincent early in the game, the junior delivered. Vincent has been showing his worth all year for the Salukis. With Beane leaving after the season, the Dawgs are going to look to a different player next year to get buckets and Vincent seems to be that man.

In his game against Illinois State, he shot 6-7 from 3-point range and in his game against Indiana State, he shot 4-6 from the field and tallied 18 points.

3. Sean O’Brien is better when he isn’t shooting threes.

Junior forward Sean O’Brien has been solid all year. O’Brien shot and made a 3-pointer Wednesday night, but O’Brien should be reluctant shooting long-range shots in the future.

The Mundelein native is at his best when he is attacking the rim and making post moves. He was shooting just 12 percent from deep coming into Wednesday’s game. 


4. Anthony Beane needs to stay aggressive.

Beane had to sit out early versus the Sycamores due to foul trouble, but the Salukis need him to win games. Even in Wednesday’s game, he had some key baskets to give the team momentum. The Salukis are most successful when Beane is scoring.

Whether he is attacking the basket or using his patented step-back jumper, he needs to be aggressive the whole game if the Salukis want a chance to win the Missouri Valley Conference.

5. The Salukis can have an effective defense, but must be consistent.

SIU struggled on defense against quality conference opponents such as Illinois State and Wichita State. Fans saw a different defensive team Wednesday night against Indiana State. The Dawgs caused 20 turnovers and converted those turnovers into 23 points.

The defense played at a high level and this is what they should strive to play like night after night. Hinson said after the game he is tired of the team being near the bottom of the MVC in total defense. When playing defense at a high level, SIU has the chance to beat teams like Evansville or Wichita State. 

Ben Tucker can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @BenTucker_DE