Three-point shooting helps Salukis against North Texas

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

It wasn’t a 32-point victory like a week ago, but the Saluki men’s basketball got the job done on Saturday night.

SIU beat North Texas for the second time in eight days, this time 74-66.

Senior guard Anthony Beane led the team with 19 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Beane combined for 46 points in the two games against the Mean Green.

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Junior center Bola Olaniyan started his first game after serving a three-game suspension for violating team rules. He came off the bench in SIU’s previous two games.

The 2-3 zone of North Texas stifled the Salukis’ offense early. Junior forward Sean O’Brien started the SIU scoring 3:38 into the game with a layup. He finished the game with 15 points.

A 9-2 SIU run gave the Dawgs an 11-8 lead with 13:31 left in the first half.

The offense for both teams stopped for the next five minutes as SIU missed five consecutive shots and North Texas went one-of-nine from the field.

Consecutive three-pointers by junior guards Mike Rodriguez and Tyler Smithpeters gave the Salukis a 10-point lead, 24-14, with 4:24 left in the first half.

The Dawgs shot nine-of-18 from three-point range in the game.

SIU went on a 21-7 run in the final 10:22 of the half, giving the Dawgs a 32-18 halftime lead.

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“The first half was about as good as we can compete defensively,” coach Barry Hinson said.

SIU shot 38.7 and North Texas 32 percent from the field in the first half.

Shooting improved for North Texas in the second half — 55.9 percent — and brought the Mean Green as close as six points down with 8:30 remaining.

“The only negative I came up with tonight is the defensive effort in the second half,” Hinson said. “We ran them hard the last two days [in practice].”

The Dawgs used a 13-5 run to extend the lead to 14 at 59-45.

Smithpeters and junior guard Leo Vincent finished with 11 points and Rodriguez added 10.

“When you have five in the double-figures, life gets a lot easier,” Hinson said.

The Salukis play the Racers at 7 p.m. Friday at Murray State.

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

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