What we learned from SIU’s win over Missouri State

Saluki coach Barry Hinson celebrates with fans after SIU's 81-78 win against Illinois State on Jan. 12 at SIU Arena. (Jacob Wiegand | @JacobWiegand_DE)

Saluki coach Barry Hinson celebrates with fans after SIU's 81-78 win against Illinois State on Jan. 12 at SIU Arena. (Jacob Wiegand | @JacobWiegand_DE)

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

SIU defeated Missouri State Sunday, 80-65. Here’s what we took away from the victory:

1. This team no longer needs Anthony Beane to have a big night to win big games.

SIU has had back-to-back eight-point performances from senior guard Anthony Beane, who went into Sunday’s contest averaging 19.9 points per game. SIU also has back-to-back wins of 13 points or more. Granted, the Dawgs wouldn’t mind Beane scoring 20 points every game, but as this week shows, it’s no longer a necessity like it has been the past two seasons. In the two games combined, there have been seven double-digit performances: five from starters and two from junior guard Leo Vincent off the bench. These performances show the supporting cast is ready and can make a difference when called upon.



2. When Beane doesn’t score a lot, the entire team makes up the difference.

Five different Salukis scored in double figures Sunday. On Wednesday against Indiana State, two were in double figures while another two had nine. This distribution shows the Salukis have meshed together as a team, instead of a collection of players. Playing as a team has carried coach Barry Hinson’s guys, but it will pay even bigger dividends next season when Beane’s eligibility runs out next season. These last two games have shown the ship will not sink after this season.

3. This team can win anywhere.

The win puts the Salukis at 8-0 on the road — the nation’s longest road winning streak. The Salukis won only five games on the road the last two seasons combined. Moreover, the team hadn’t beat Missouri State in Springfield, Mo., since Hinson was hired. Sunday’s game showed that no matter where they are, the Salukis feel comfortable. Hinson said the team feels less pressure on the road and its play reflects that notion. The Salukis’ biggest road tests lie ahead as four of their five remaining road games are against the top half of the Missouri Valley Conference standings.

4. This team does not care about history.

SIU’s victory was their first at Missouri State since the 2008-09 season. This season’s team already has as many or more victories than any team since the 2006-07 Sweet 16 team. The program hasn’t had a six-game winning streak since that season as well. Bears coach Paul Lusk was 6-2 in his career against the Dawgs and 4-0 at home versus SIU. None of that matters to this group of Dawgs. Hinson said he uses last year as a motivating factor. With the Salukis breaking records and setting as many streaks as they are, the message appears to be received.

5. The monkey is finally off coach Hinson’s back.

Until Sunday, Hinson had not won at Missouri State, his former workplace. Not to mention the Bears’ head coach, Paul Lusk, is a former Saluki. He said the games in Springfield no longer meant anything special to him, but even if it didn’t, he has to feel a weight is off his shoulders. To do it in this season, one that Hinson says he has enjoyed more than any other at SIU, probably makes it even more special.

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3304.