Salukis lose to Billikens late

Salukis lose to Billikens late

By Tyler Davis

SIU men’s basketball lost its regular-season opener 62-59 in heartbreaking fashion at St. Louis University on Saturday.

The Salukis led for most of the game until Billiken junior Austin McBroom hit a three pointer to give his team the lead with less than 11 seconds left in the second half. The guard led all players with 24 points and knocked down 5 three-point field goals.

Following McBroom’s three pointer, the two teams traded free throws until a last-second inbound pass by sophomore Tyler Smithpeters was intercepted by SLU and time expired.

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Saturday was SIU’s first game against a Division I opponent of the season. SLU is coming off a year in which it reached the NCAA tournament but returned just four upperclassmen. The Billikens started just one of their eight freshmen, guard Davell Roby, who had 4 points and 3 assists in 20 minutes.

Sophomore Sean O’Brien said before the game the matchup would be a good indication of the Salukis’ potential.

O’Brien led SIU with 15 points and 12 rebounds. The forward had a career-high in rebounds and notched his first double-double as a Saluki. Beane poured in 14 points but was limited by foul trouble in the second half.

SIU led 37-33 at halftime behind 10 points from both Beane and O’Brien. McBroom knocked down 3 three pointers had 12 points going in to intermission. Billken turnovers led to 16 points for the Salukis in the first half, but in the second half, SIU scored just 4 points off of SLU’s mistakes.

The Salukis played much of the second half without Beane and Pendleton because both had 4 fouls with more than 9 minutes left in the game. SIU maintained its lead until the final seconds of the game.

Coach Barry Hinson can attribute part of the loss to his team’s 32 percent field goal shooting and 44 percent free throw shooting in the second half. SLU shot better from the field, from the free-throw line and from the three-point arc than SIU in the second half.

All freshmen came off the bench for the Salukis, as Smithpeters got his first start of the young season. He had 9 points and 2 three pointers in a game-high 36 minutes.

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Freshmen Jordan Caroline, Chaz Glotta and Deion Lavender combined to shoot 2-10 from the field in their first regular season game as Salukis.

Freshmen Austin Weiher and Armon Fletcher did not appear for the first time all season after Hinson announced they were both redshirted Nov. 13.

SIU plays next at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Tennessee State in Nashville, Tenn.

Tyler Davis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @TDavis_DE.

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