Miscues derail Salukis’ season

By Matt Wells, @mattwells_de

The SIU men’s basketball team has lost because of field goal inefficiency, poor ball movement and overly aggressive defense that leads to too many fouls in eight of the last nine games.

The Salukis have hovered around 40 percent from the field throughout the slump, except in their lone win against Bradley, where they shot 46.3 percent. Even that percentage would not win against most teams. 

Every night, the crowd groans for players to shoot the ball when they are open, but they wind up shot-faking instead. At least it is not only coach Barry Hinson’s wife who can shot fake now. 

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When this tactic is used correctly, it causes the defense to react and foul. But when used incorrectly, it just wastes a quality shot.

This is one of many ways the team has frustrated the fans.

During the last nine games, the team has compiled 77 assists for an average of less than 9 per game. This has directly affected the team’s scoring.

“We didn’t play bad,” freshman guard Deion Lavender said after the game Feb. 17 against No. 13 Wichita State.

This was an interesting evaluation of the team’s performance, since SIU lost 84-62 and it shot 40.7 percent from the field.

That was not even the worst shooting night for the Salukis.

Before facing the Dawgs on Jan. 31, Missouri State lost seven straight games.

SIU failed to score 50 points against the Bears on 33 percent shooting.

Sophomore forward Sean O’Brien had a terrible shooting night, going 0-for-6 from the field. Junior guard Anthony Beane, second in the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring, shot just 3-for-10 from the field.

While the Salukis continue to show their inaccuracy nightly, they also have a propensity to foul. 

The Dawgs have fouled 182 times in the past nine games for an average of 20.2 fouls per game.

This hurts their chances of turning this season around.

Against Evansville on Jan. 24, they had a season-high 31 personal fouls.

O’Brien, sophomore forward Bola Olaniyan and freshman guard Jalen Pendleton all fouled out. Sophomore guard Tyler Smithpeters had four fouls, as did Lavender.

In the 66-62 loss at Loyola, they were leading 56-55 with 6:16 left. Their bad habit showed up in the worst way, with 7 fouls in that final stretch.

When a team cannot score and it cannot play defense without fouling, it is almost impossible to win.

Despite the slump, Hinson has remained defiant as ever. He will only play those who have earned the playing time, instead of seeing who is ready for next year.

It seems counterproductive simply because at this point, they just cannot win. What’s that old adage about when you do the same thing and expect a different result? It is insanity. 

Matt Wells can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269.

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