Salukis stomp Spires in exhibition match

By Tyler Davis

Exhibition games in college basketball are usually meant to get players minutes and decide who will be designated as redshirt players for the regular season. No players made that decision easy for coach Barry Hinson in SIU’s opening game of the season.

The Salukis won their first exhibition game at SIU Arena, blowing out the University of St. Mary Spires 102-63. Junior guard Anthony Beane led SIU in scoring with 20 points on 7-18 shooting. Sophomore center Bola Olaniyan added 11 points and 8 rebounds during Friday’s decisive win.

The scoring margin was the largest in an SIU contest since 2012 when the Salukis defeated the Benedictine University- Springfield Bulldogs 100-62. Both the Spires and Bulldogs play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, a division lower than the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Advertisement

Hinson said he recognized that the Spires would not be able to compete with his team physically. After all, St. Mary’s biggest player is 6’8” while SIU has three players that height and taller.

Hinson said he knew the Spires were outmatched, but the game was less about the score and more about getting freshmen playing time.

“I want to put ourselves in a position where I can put the future out there on the floor,” he said. “I really wanted to put the freshmen together out there, and for the most part, they held their own pretty good.”

Besides the freshmen, Hinson said getting junior 7-foot center Deng Leek some playing time was a goal. Leek is the first player to top 6’11” since Kobby Acquah left the school in 2007.

Leek had 3 points, 2 rebounds and an assist in 6 minutes.

Redshirt freshman K.C. Goodwin played 20 minutes after not playing at all last season. He finished with 9 points, a steal and shot 3-for-3 from 3-point range.

“I thought K.C. played really well for us at times,” Hinson said. “K.C. gave us a heck of a spark to start the game. … And all of his shots were good shots.”

Advertisement

Goodwin said the redshirt year helped him develop both offensively and defensively. Hinson said at the basketball media day that he expected a big role for the guard this season.

Hinson set no list of players who could possibly redshirt this year, but did say that picture will become clearer after the team’s second exhibition game.

The Salukis next game is at 3:05 p.m. at SIU Arena against Southwest Baptist Nov. 8.

Advertisement