Dawgs end regular season on high note

By Matt Wells, @mattwells_DE

SIU men’s basketball has momentum heading into the “do or die” part of the season. 

Drake (9-21, 6-12) had no answer against junior guard Anthony Beane, who led the Salukis (11-20, 4-14) to a 70-64 win on Senior Day.

Beane, the Missouri Valley Conference’s second ranked scorer at 16.5 points per game, scored 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3 3-pointers. 

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The Salukis led 37-25 at halftime against the Bulldogs.

The Dawgs, at times, disappeared defensively in the second half.

Drake freshman guard Reed Timmer and Drake senior guard Gary Ricks Jr. shot a combined 5-of-9 from behind the arc.

But SIU would, for the most part, keep its margin through most of the second half.

Unlike most of the season, SIU’s first half was not undone by the second.

After shooting 60.9 percent in the first half, the Salukis finished at 52.1 percent.

Another element that worked for the Salukis was sophomore Sean O’Brien helping down inside.

“I usually had a guard on me, like Ricks [Jr.] or Madison,” O’Brien said. “Coaches did a good job of finding mismatches and ran a couple plays for me down there.”

Drake coach Ray Giacoletti said his team simply could not get stops. 

According to Giacoletti, his team plays with three goals: hold the opponent to 30 points or less at the half, head to the free throw line 10 times or more and 6 or less turnovers.

“If you do two of those, you win 100 percent of the time,” he said. “Two of the three. We got to the line four times tonight. You just simply can’t win like that.”

Drake held Beane to 4 points in the second half, but Giacoletti said it was too little, too late.

“When I go to the dentist, I know the outcome’s going to be ok, but I just know that it’s going to be painful to get there,” SIU coach Barry Hinson said. “That game, that game today was a dentist game.”

Hinson said the fans were a big factor.

“I want to thank our fans. We had prediction of bad weather today, that Noah’s Arc was going to show up. We lost five games in a row, but we had 5,500 fans show up today. That’s Southern Illinois basketball.”

The Salukis travel to St. Louis to play in Arch Madness.

“I like the way we’re heading into the game,” O’Brien said.

The Dawgs’ first game is against Missouri State on Thursday.

Matt Wells can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-5311 ext. 269.

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