Daily Egyptian

SIU men’s basketball looking to revamp offense this season

SIU+junior+guard+Jonathan+Wiley+attempts+a+layup+Thursday%2C+Nov.+3%2C+2016%2C+during+the+Salukis%27+72-67+exhibition+win+over+the+UMSL+Tritons+at+SIU+Arena.+%28Luke+Nozicka+%7C+%40lukenozicka%29+
SIU junior guard Jonathan Wiley attempts a layup Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, during the Salukis' 72-67 exhibition win over the UMSL Tritons at SIU Arena. (Luke Nozicka | @lukenozicka)

SIU junior guard Jonathan Wiley attempts a layup Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, during the Salukis' 72-67 exhibition win over the UMSL Tritons at SIU Arena. (Luke Nozicka | @lukenozicka)

SIU junior guard Jonathan Wiley attempts a layup Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, during the Salukis' 72-67 exhibition win over the UMSL Tritons at SIU Arena. (Luke Nozicka | @lukenozicka)

By Jonathon Thompson

The SIU men’s basketball team has multiple things it needs to account for going into its second game of the season, but none may be more important than how the Salukis are going score.

Losing their leading scorer in Anthony Beane, who averaged a Missouri Valley Conference second-best 19.3 points per game, SIU is going to have to find ways to make up for his production.

“There is no one guy who can replace Beane,” SIU coach Barry Hinson said. “The way we could give him the ball late in the shot clock and he could get his own shot is something we don’t have. You guys are going to see a totally different team this year.”

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Saluki senior guard Anthony Beane dribbles the ball past Rambler senior guard Earl Peterson during SIU’s 73-59 loss to Loyola on Feb. 6 at SIU Arena. Beane finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the game for his first career double-double. (DailyEgyptian.com file photo)

Then Saluki senior guard Anthony Beane dribbles the ball past Rambler senior guard Earl Peterson during SIU’s 73-59 loss to Loyola on Feb. 6 at SIU Arena. Beane finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the game for his first career double-double. (DailyEgyptian.com file photo)

The Salukis were second in the MVC in scoring (73.8 points per game) and third in field goal percentage (45.3) last season.

In addition to Beane’s departure, SIU also lost starting center Bola Olaniyan, who transferred to Alabama. He averaged 7.8 points per game, fifth-most on the team.

Despite these losses, SIU actually returned more scoring this season than most of the conference.

SIU returned 60.4 percent of its scoring from last season, more than five other Valley teams. Three of the five teams finished tied or above SIU in the conference standings last year.

Graphic by Andy Phillippe

Graphic by Andy Phillippe

Not having a go-to scorer could result in more interesting games this season for SIU with Hinson’s team looking for someone to step up each game.

However, the team feels confident that it will find a way to get the job done, even if it’s in a different fashion each game.

“We have a lot scorers and shooters that are going to try and make up for what we lost,” senior guard Tyler Smithpeters said. “I think it’ll be someone different every game. It may be one guy the first game and then someone totally different in the middle of the season. It’s going to be a little of everyone.”

One way the team is trying to help get everyone involved is working on more ball movement.

SIU finished near the bottom of the conference (eighth) in assists per game at 11.5, which was a sharp upgrade from an MVC-worst 8.3 in 2014-15.

SIU senior guard Mike Rodriguez (1) tries to fake out Wright State sophomore guard Mark Hughes (3) during the Salukis' 85-81 loss to Wright State on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at SIU Arena. (Sean Carley | @SCarleyDE)

SIU senior guard Mike Rodriguez (1) tries to fake out Wright State sophomore guard Mark Hughes (3) during the Salukis’ 85-81 loss to Wright State on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at SIU Arena. (Sean Carley | @SCarleyDE)

“We have a lot of good playmakers on our team,” junior guard Jonathan Wiley said. “Outside of them, we have a bunch of guys who want to move the ball. We have been practicing, making sure everyone touches the ball so we won’t have to rely on one person.”

Wiley also said there is more to scoring than just the act of putting the ball in the basket, and improvements have to made across the board.

“We need toughness all around,” Wiley said. “We need offensive rebounds to give us more possessions. We’re improving on our defense so we can keep the other team from scoring on us so much. It sounds simple, but it’s doing the little things that’ll help us.”

It’s still the start of the season, but the Salukis will have to put all of pieces together soon if they want to compete.

“We don’t know who we are right now,” Hinson said of his team’s identity. “It’s going to take us a while to figure that out, but I like who we can be.”

Staff writer Jonathan Thompson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @TheReal_Jt3.

To stay up to date with all your SIU basketball news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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