SIU men open conference play with win over Loyola

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

The SIU men’s basketball team did something Wednesday night that it hasn’t done in over a full season: win a Missouri Valley Conference game on the road.

Senior guard Anthony Beane’s 22 points led SIU (12-2, 1-0 MVC) to 72-62 win over Loyola (7-6, 0-1) for the Dawgs’ first conference road victory since a Feb. 22, 2014 win over Evansville. This is the first MVC opener win for SIU since 2009.

After trading baskets for the first six minutes of the game, a 9-0 Saluki run gave SIU a 17-9 lead. 

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The lead then grew to 13 thanks in part to a surge from senior center Deng Leek that included four points and four blocks in six minutes.

Loyola entered the bonus with 4:44 left in the first half and rode those extra free throws to end the half on a 7- 0 run, trimming the SIU lead to 34-30. SIU did not attempt a free throw in the first half, while Loyola went 6-7.

The stats backed up how close the first half score was. 

SIU shot 45 percent from the floor while Loyola shot 42 percent. The Salukis outrebounded the Ramblers 17-14, but lost the first-half assist battle 7-8.

Beane led the Dawgs with 14 first-half points on 5-7 shooting, 4-5 from three-point range.

However, the second half got ugly quick for the Salukis.

Within the first seven minutes, junior forward Sean O’Brien and junior center Bola Olaniyan got into foul trouble early on, confining them to the bench for an extended period. Olaniyan finished a basket away from a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds.

The Dawgs broke out of a three-minute slump a Beane and-one and three-pointer from junior guard Leo Vincent to boost the lead to 12 with 11 minutes left. Vincent finished with eight points on 3-5 shooting.

Both teams earned the double bonus with more than five minutes left, turning the latter part of the second half into a free-throw contest.

SIU went 15-22 from the free-throw line in the second half, while Loyola went 9-10. 

The Salukis shot 58 percent (11-19) in the second half. The Ramblers shot 37 percent (11-30).

The Salukis have their first home game in conference play at 7 p.m. Saturday against Northern Iowa, who beat Bradley on Thursday by a score of 80-44.

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SCarleyDE

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