Salukis snap skid, put out Flames

By Tyler Davis

SIU gained its first and only win of its three games played in three days Sunday against the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Salukis outplayed the Flames, winning 67-60 behind junior guard Anthony Beane’s 27 points, 9 rebounds and no turnovers. Sophomore forward Sean O’Brien had 12 points, hitting his first 5 shots of the game. He averaged 14 points for the tournament, which took place Friday through Sunday at Kent State University.

Freshman guard Deion Lavender had his first score as a Saluki on the way to a 12-point, 4-rebound game with no turnovers in 28 minutes.

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Graduate student guard Jay Harris led the Flames with 19 points. UIC’s leading scorer for the season, and the tournament’s leading scorer through the first two games, junior forward Jake Wiegand had just 6 points and 3 rebounds before fouling out.

Saluki coach Barry Hinson said his team’s game plan centered on Wiegand, who came into the game averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds per game.

“We wanted to attack him on offense, try to get him in foul trouble,” he said to play-by-play radio announcer Russ Eisenstein. “Then double down on him when he gets the ball every time and you know what, we did a good job.”

The Dawgs’ defense and offense improved in the final game of the tournament as the team had its best shooting night.

SIU shot 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range while holding the Flames to 34 percent shooting overall and 29 percent from three.

Selfish play and poor rebounding described the first two games of the tournament for the Salukis, but it was a different story Sunday. The team averaged 6 assists per game Friday and Saturday, but had 10 against UIC.

Hinson praised his team’s passing after the game.

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“When your big guys have 7 assists, that’s pretty impressive,” he said.

Entering Sunday’s game, the Salukis were outrebounded 73-60 in the tournament, but they held the rebounding advantage against the Flames.

“It’s amazing that whenever you outrebound a team, you have a chance to win,” Hinson said. SIU collected 35 rebounds compared to 28 for UIC.

SIU led by as many as 21 points and did not allow the Flames to lead for one second during the game.

The Salukis went into the half leading 35-21 and led in most statistical categories. The team opened the second half on a 13-6 run to extend its lead.

Yale and Kent State beat SIU in the first two games of the tournament, and UIC lost all three of its games. Yale defeated Kent State in the tournament’s finale to end the weekend 3-0.

The Salukis (2-3) will try to build on the momentum against Olivet Nazarene, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics team, at 3:05 p.m. Saturday at SIU Arena.

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