Salukis split season series against Bradley with blowout win


Bobby Wood, a senior from St. Louis studying aviation management, looks to distract the opposing team Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, during the Salukis’ 85-65 win against Bradley at SIU Arena. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

By Jonathan Thompson

After losing its first meeting against Bradley, Saluki men’s basketball won 85-65 Wednesday in the teams’ second meeting.

Apart from a collapse at the end of the first half, the Salukis dominated Bradley in the games entirety, not once losing the lead in 40 minutes of play.

Junior forward Thik Bol was the first player in the scoring column, making a layup under the basket to put SIU on top early.


“I think the story of the night is the bigs,” coach Barry Hinson said. “Look at our numbers 34 [points] and 21 [rebounds] from our four bigs. That’s pretty impressive and that’s how we have to play. We’ve got to get the ball inside.”

Bol finished with 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks.

Hinson said he would like to have more games like this out of the bigs but the problem is, “our guards can’t see them,” he added.

“The little ones can’t find them against length,” he said. “There are times I truly believe this, two of our guards, which I will not mention at this time, have blindness that just attacks them in the middle of the game. I don’t know if they’re wearing horse shutter or what but they just can’t find them because of the length defensively.”

The Salukis scored again quickly, this time thanks to a tip-in from sophomore guard Armon Fletcher. Bradley had a response this time as freshmen guard Darrell Brown hit a jumper to make the score 2-4.

After Brown’s basket, Southern went on a 13-0 run — allowing no points in over six minutes of play — capped off by a 3-pointer from senior guard Leo Vincent.


In response to Vincent’s 3-pointer, the Braves went on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit down to 17-8 with 12:37 remaining in the opening half.

Southern (13-11, 6-5 Missouri Valley Conference) dominated Bradley on the boards at this part of the game by having five offensive rebounds — eight in total —and seven points off of second chance attempts.

Bradley (8-16, 3-8 MVC) had zero rebounds. The Salukis finished the half with a 23-11 rebound advantage.

The Braves and Salukis traded baskets for the next seven minutes. SIU never led with less than 11 until Bradley went on a 7-0 run to end the half down 36-30.

SIU came out of the halftime break with some energy, going on a 6-0 run that extended its lead, 42-30.

“We wanted to start off the second half just like the first,” Bol said. “That last eight minutes [of the first half] we just stopped playing really.”

This is the second game in a row where all five of the Salukis starters had double figures in points.

After a series of mini runs put together by the Salukis, junior guard Jonathan Wiley made a layup with 13:43 left on the clock, extending SIU’s lead to 20.

As the second half winded down, the Salukis started accumulating a lot of fouls that allowed Bradley to cut the lead to 13.

Coach Barry Hinson speaks to his team at a timeout during SIU’s 85-65 win against Bradley on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, at SIU Arena. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

The Braves couldn’t get anything going from the free throw line shooting 48.4 percent (15-31).

“I thought our swim team had a lot to do with the free throws,” Hinson said. “I’m sorry, you can call it what you want, when a grown man is up there in a speedo wearing a bikini top its hard as heck to even concentrate, much less make a free throw. Our swim team great job guys.”

After a floater by Brown cut the lead 53-66, Southern went on a 7-1 run to get the score 72-54 with 4:55 remaining.

The Salukis held off Bradley for the remainder of the time and cruised to a 85-65 victory — their second straight.

SIU looks to continue its win streak at 1 p.m. on Saturday against Loyola in Chicago.

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

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