SIU men’s basketball loses first game of season to Wright State


Coach Barry Hinson reacts to a call during the Salukis’ 85-81 loss to Wright State on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at SIU Arena. (Sean Carley | @SCarleyDE)

By Jonathan Thompson

Foul trouble and a poor defensive second half doomed SIU men’s basketball Friday in its season opener against Wright State.

The Raiders scored 54 points in the second half to put away the Salukis, 85-81.

Wright State shot 72 percent from the field and 75 percent from 3-point range in the second half.


“The biggest thing is that they got confident,” SIU coach Barry Hinson said. “You can’t let a team on your home floor get confident.”

SIU’s defense wasn’t helped out with the immense number of fouls called on the night, a total of 32. Each Saluki to enter the game committed at least one foul.

After entering the half down four, Wright State came out on an 8-2 run to claim its first lead since the opening minutes. The run was punctuated by a 3-pointer from senior forward Steven Davis.

SIU battled with the Raiders for the extent of the game, at one time cutting a nine-point WSU lead to two.

Davis would continue to be a thorn in SIU’s side as he knocked down a big three to extended the Raiders lead to 80-75 with 51 seconds left in the game. He would finish with 26 points on the night.

“That’s not what he usually does,” Hinson said of Davis. “He got hot and gained his confidence certainly and he went off and got 26 points.”

He wasn’t the only Raider to put up big numbers.


Junior guard Mark Alstork scored a game-high 30 points on 19 shots.

SIU’s size advantage was neutralized by Wright State’s aggression on the boards. The Raiders outrebounded SIU 41-25 in the game.

“That’s just being soft,” SIU senior guard Leo Vincent said after the game. “At the end of the day, rebounds are like 50-50 balls. It’s just how bad you want it and they wanted it more than we did.”

Medically, SIU suffered a give-and-take in its lineup throughout the game.

Senior guard Mike Rodriguez made his way into the starting lineup after suffering a knee injury that kept him from playing in the exhibition match last week.

He was the leader for SIU all night with a team-high 29 points and six assists.

As for fellow senior guard Tyler Smithpeters, he tweaked his left knee in the first half and did not return. He came out for the second half on crutches and a bag of ice wrapped around the knee.

Hinson said the early prognosis on Smithpeters’ knee was “not good.”

Despite the poor effort in the second half, the Salukis shot the ball well in the first, making 50 percent of their field goals and 3-pointers.

Leo Vincent would be the catalyst for SIU in the first. He scored 12 points on 5-7 shooting and also made both of his 3-point attempts. He would finish with 19.

SIU fed off of its defense, forcing 13 turnovers. The team also was able to capitalize, scoring 11 points on fast breaks. The Dawgs led by as much as 15 in the first half.

Wright State would close the gap to 35-31 going into halftime.

The Salukis will have the weekend to regroup before traveling to face their first Power 5 conference opponent Arkansas at 7 p.m. Monday in Fayetteville.

This story will be updated soon with a photo gallery from the game.

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

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