Salukis outrun Governors

By Tyler Davis

SIU (5-3) cruised to its fourth straight win beating Austin Peay (2-6) at SIU Arena on Saturday night, 71-49.

APSU held the lead once with 18:38 left in the first half, then it was all Salukis. SIU led by as many as 25 points to extend its winning streak to the longest since February.

Freshman forward Jordan Caroline led the Salukis with 13 points, 7 rebounds and no turnovers in 24 minutes. Forward Sean O’Brien had 11 points and 8 rebounds. The sophomore was one of seven Salukis to notch an assist as the team finished with 14 assists.

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Coach Barry Hinson said sharing the ball was imperative for his team to reach its potential

“In the locker room I told them, ‘Now know we have a chance to be good, because we’ve got guys, when I tell them to go get fouled, they still end up sharing the basketball,’” he said.

Forward Jalen Pendleton was one of the main distributors. The junior finished with 3 assists and could have had more if his teams finished some additional shots.

Pendleton said Hinson emphasized him being a facilitator on the court.

“[Hinson] wants me to kind of be a point guard out there,” Pendelton said. “He knows I can get to the paint and find people.”

Hinson said another thing he stressed to his team was minimizing Governors’ center Chris Horton’s defensive skills. The 6-foot-8 junior came into the game averaging nearly 4 blocks a contest. Tonight he had 0.

Horton finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds in a game-high 35 minutes.

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Hinson said shot fakes, which were the cause for his infamous tirade last season against Murray State on Dec. 18, helped his team negate Horton’s effectiveness and create easy shots for the Dawgs.

“Our emphasis in the game was to not let him block your shot,” he said. “Get around him and let everybody else get assists off him.”

To go with the assists, SIU also took care of the ball. The team had just 7 turnovers but forced APSU into 18 turnovers.  The Salukis outshot the Governors from three-point range and from the field but had a tough time shooting free throws.

The team made just nine of 17 free throws attempts. Hinson said a 53 percent free-throw rate is unacceptable and his players will be practicing those shots intensely.

“The rule is if you miss a free throw, you shoot 100 for every miss,” Hinson said. “So those guys will be in tomorrow.”

The Salukis held a slim rebound advantage, 33-31, which included 11 on offense. APSU grabbed 8 offensive boards and Saturday was the second time SIU had more offensive rebounds than its opponent.

Preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference guard Anthony Beane was held to 9 points on 4-14 shooting. Hinson said he is not concerned about the junior’s game because APSU made a point to stop Beane.

“Austin Peay came in and said that’s going to be our focus,” Hinson said. “We’re going to take [Beane] out of the game and that’s when everybody else has to step up. Our [passing] was the story of the night.”

The Salukis led 41-25 after the first half. They shot 50 percent from the field and Caroline led the team with 11 points and 5 rebounds.

APSU junior Chris Freeman had 10 points at the break and his team shot 45 percent from the field.  The teams both struggled from three-point range: SIU was 2-7 and APSU was 1-4.

The Salukis outrebounded the Governors 18 to 13 and grabbed 9 offensive rebounds—a season high for the first half. SIU also had 7 assists compared to APSU’s three.

APSU struggled with turnovers, giving up the ball 13 times in the first half while SIU turned it over a season-low three times in the half.

SIU plays at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at the Show Me Center against Southeast Missouri State.

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