Salukis sweep weekend’s games

By Sports Desk

Saluki athletics had an extremely successful weekend.

Four sports played in five games this weekend with SIU coming out as the victor in all five games. SIU football defeated Missouri State. Volleyball won both of its matches. And both the men’s and women’s basketball teams were victorious in their exhibition games.

SIU volleyball clinched a Missouri Valley Conference tournament bid with two wins. The Salukis upset the Northern Iowa Panthers 3-2 Friday, and swept the Drake Bulldogs 3-0 Saturday.

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“We’re feeling pretty good about the kind of production, the kind of energy and really the kind of consistency that’s happening,” volleyball coach Justin Ingram said.

Freshman outside hitter Abby Barrow led the Salukis with 30 kills this weekend. She said the team has been giving her higher sets lately, which helps her become more efficient. She has led the team in kills the past three matches.

SIU traveled to Missouri State in football and won 32-22.

The Salukis were carried by freshman running back Cameron Walter. Walter had 210 yards on 37 carries in his first career start.

Sophomore quarterback Ryan West made his first start of the season. He went 16-25 passing for 136 yards and 3 touchdowns. Two of those touchdown passes went to Senior receiver Tay Willis, who had 8 catches total.

The defense did a nice job shutting down senior quarterback Kierra Harris, who leads the Bears in rushing and passing yards. Harris was held to just 35 yards on the ground and 159 through the air.

Senior linebacker Jordan Poole said the win was a morale boost.

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“People are starting to get more confidence. West is in there, got his first win too. He threw the ball well.” He said. “I just think it’s a great confidence builder and its gonna give us momentum to help carry on through the rest of the season.”

On the court, SIU closed out it’s preseason with wins.

SIU men’s basketball team dominated Division II opponent Southwest Baptist for 40 minutes en route to a 79-63 victory Saturday.

The Salukis struggled shooting from three-point range and at the free-throw line, but played tough defense, holding the SW Baptist Bearcats to just 38 percent shooting from the field. Besides Bearcat senior guard Derrick Stewart, who scored a game-high 28 points, no SW Baptist player shot better than 40 percent.

Junior guard Anthony Beane led all Salukis with 22 points. Freshman guard Deion Lavender scored 9 points, as did freshman forward Jordan Caroline.

Caroline shot 9 free throws and said getting to the rim is his plan anytime he’s on the court.

“I’d rather go the rim but I’m still working on my shot, I have confidence in it,” said Caroline, who converted both of his scoring chances from inside 10 feet. “But if the defense is up on me, I just beat them around the corner.”

Coach Barry Hinson said he was happy with the way Caroline played, considering he suffered an injury in practice Friday.

“He was in the emergency room last night, up ‘til midnight,” he said. “We had an injury last night with Jordan. He’s fine but he was banged up, he was not full speed at all in any way, shape or form today. He was hobbling all day.”

Caroline also grabbed 6 rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.

The SIU women’s basketball team won its exhibition game against Division II opponent Quincy University 72-57 Friday night.

The Hawks led for the first ten minutes of the game, but a layup by junior forward Azia Washington on an assist from junior center Dyana Pierre gave the Salukis a lead they never relinquished.

Washington led all scorers with 18 points and hauled in a game-high 9 rebounds. She was second on the team in points and rebounds last season.

Junior center Dyana Pierre added 14 points in her first action after being named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team this spring.

Sophomore point guard Rishonda Napier also scored 14 points in her first game since Nov. 21, 2013.

Defensively, SIU allowed only two second-chance points and took advantage of a 1-15 performance from beyond the arc by Quincy.

Tony McDaniel, Tyler Davis, Aaron Graff, and Thomas Donley all contributed to this story.

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