Daily Egyptian

SIU bests SEMO for 16th time in 18 games

Junior forward Sean O'Brien passes a rebounded ball during the 74-50 victory against Southeast Missouri State at SIU Arena on Dec. 2, 2015. O'Brien led all scorers with 22 points in the win. (Morgan Timms | @morgan_timms)

Junior forward Sean O'Brien passes a rebounded ball during the 74-50 victory against Southeast Missouri State at SIU Arena on Dec. 2, 2015. O'Brien led all scorers with 22 points in the win. (Morgan Timms | @morgan_timms)

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

SIU men’s basketball (7-1) beat Southeast Missouri State (0-6) Wednesday for the eighth time in a row at home. 

The Salukis beat the RedHawks 74-50, led by junior forward Sean O’Brien who finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds in his third-straight double-double.

Last season, the Dawgs were bested by the Redhawks in Cape Girardeau, Mo. 

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“We had a bad taste in our mouth last year,” he said. “We wanted to throw the first punch, but it just led to sloppiness.”

SEMO junior guard Antonius Cleveland made a free-throw 1:58 into the game to open the scoring.

The Salukis were held scoreless for three minutes until O’Brien made a layup to cut the RedHawks lead to three.

Steals on back-to-back possessions by freshman forward Austin Weiher led to SIU layups.

“I definitely feel more comfortable out there,” Weiher said. “We came out knowing we were going to do better [in the second half].”

Freshman forward Rudy Stradnieks snapped an 8-0 SEMO run, which lasted four minutes, with a layup assisted by junior guard Tyler Smithpeters.

Senior center Deng Leek checked into the game with nine-tenths of a second left on the clock and attempted a tip-in at the rim off the inbound, but it was unsuccessful. SIU led at the half 32-27.

SIU shot two-of-13 in the first half for three-pointers, both successful attempts were from senior guard Anthony Beane. He finished the half with eight points.

“You have to give [SEMO coach] Rick Ray and his staff credit,” coach Barry Hinson said. “They tried to make it as boring a game as possible, and they did it. Quite frankly, they did it until about 16 minutes were left in the game.”

The second half started with a 4-0 run by SEMO before SIU answered with a 6-0 run in the next 2:27.

Junior guard Mike Rodriguez left the game after a collision with a SEMO player four minutes into the second half. He checked back in the game about two minutes later and finished the game with seven assists.

The Salukis took their first free throws of the game with 12 minutes remaining in the game. O’Brien converted both attempts to make the score 45-37.

Weiher checked out of the game with 6:33 remaining and finished with 10 points.

SEMO freshman guard Robby Dosier, a Carbondale native, checked into the game with 1:54 left in the game. The Marion High School alumnus finished the game with with zero points and one attempted shot.

“[Dosier] is a young man that can probably help us out down the line,” Ray said. “What we’re looking from [Dosier] right now is to develop.”

The game was played in front of a crowd of 4,781 at SIU Arena. The Salukis had the fourth-best average attendance in the Valley — 4,380 — entering the game.

“That’s based on a team that had 12 wins last year,” Hinson said. “So I really want to tell our fans thank you and we really appreciate it.”

SIU averaged 4,956 last season, sixth in the MVC. 

The Salukis host North Texas at 5 p.m. Saturday at SIU Arena.

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3333

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