SIU men’s basketball loses rough offensive game to Minnesota


Senior guard Mike Rodriguez charges down the court alongside Minnesota junior guard Nate Mason on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, during the Salukis’ 57-45 loss to the University of Minnesota at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

By Sean Carley

The temperature in Minneapolis was near freezing Friday night. Minnesota and SIU’s shooting was just as cold.

SIU was held to 31 percent field goal shooting in a defensive struggle the Golden Gophers would end up winning, 57-45.

The silver lining for the Salukis was that it held Minnesota to 38 percent shooting and almost 30 points below its season average of 85.4 points per game.


Things looked well early for SIU (2-3) when a 7-0 run gave it a 16-12 lead halfway through the first half, but Minnesota (6-0) would respond quickly with a 12-0 run of its own.

SIU missed 10 consecutive shots during the Golden Gopher run.

A layup by senior guard Leo Vincent would be the only Saluki score in the final eight minutes of the first half. Vincent struggled for the second consecutive game, going 1-9 from the field and missing all four of his 3-point attempts.

Minnesota would go into the half with a 29-20 lead. This was without the services of junior center Reggie Lynch, who had played against the Salukis previously as a member of the Illinois State Redbirds.

SIU junior forward Thik Bol would take advantage of his absence, going for a game-high 15 points and seven rebounds.

The Salukis were able to hold the lead down to single digits before a nearly seven-minute long 8-0 run for Minnesota gave it a 15-point lead.

It was another cold stretch for SIU offensively, missing 12 straight shots. But Minnesota was not lighting the nets on fire during the run either, making only three of its eight shots in that timeframe.


The two teams were fairly equal statistically throughout the game. Minnesota outrebounded SIU 44-37, but was tied on offensive rebounds at 11 each.

SIU had one more assist than the Golden Gophers, led by senior guard Mike Rodriguez’s nine. He also had seven points and five rebounds.

Rodriguez, sophomore guard Armon Fletcher and sophomore forward Austin Weiher all tied for the second-highest scoring total for the Salukis with seven.

The Golden Gophers had double-digit scoring from freshman guard Amir Coffey (13), sophomore guard Dupree McBrayer (11) and junior guard Nate Mason (11). The rest of the team had a combined 22 points on 8-28 shooting.

SIU will try to level its record again at 7 p.m. Tuesday when Murray State comes to SIU Arena.

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

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