Daily Egyptian

Saluki basketball chased out of Louisville by Cardinals

Senior+forward+Jonathan+Wiley+attempts+to+shoot+a+basket+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+21%2C+2017%2C+during+the+Salukis%E2%80%99+84-42+loss+against+the+University+of+Louisville+at+KFC+Yum%21+Center+in+Louisville%2C+Kentucky.+%28Athena+Chrysanthou+%7C+%40Chrysant1Athena%29
Senior forward Jonathan Wiley attempts to shoot a basket Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, during the Salukis’ 84-42 loss against the University of Louisville at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

Senior forward Jonathan Wiley attempts to shoot a basket Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, during the Salukis’ 84-42 loss against the University of Louisville at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

Senior forward Jonathan Wiley attempts to shoot a basket Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, during the Salukis’ 84-42 loss against the University of Louisville at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

By Nathan Dodd

The SIU men’s basketball team beat four nationally ranked opponents since 2000, with only one of those victories against a top-20 team.

On Tuesday, the Salukis traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to face the No. 19 Louisville Cardinals with the hope of defeating a ranked opponent for the first time since 2007.

SIU’s losing streak against ranked opponents continued in Louisville, as the Cardinals defeated the Salukis 84-42.

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“I think playing in an arena like this can give you a boost most of the time,” SIU head coach Barry Hinson said. “I don’t think there’s anything positive out of tonight. There isn’t one thing that prepared us or helped us.”

Southern began the game with a better pace of play on Tuesday than it a year ago when the Salukis fell to the Cardinals 74-51.

Both teams turned on the defensive pressure early and made scoring difficult. Five points from junior guard Sean Lloyd gave Southern a 9-6 lead with 11:23 left in the first half.

The Salukis turned the ball over eight times in the first half and the Cardinals capitalized with transition buckets that gave them a 16-11 lead.

SIU’s 22.6 field-goal percentage in the first half plagued the Salukis for points and they fell victim Louisville’s full-court press. Behind its strong defensive stand, Louisville claimed a 24-11 lead.

“We were not prepared for their zone matchup,” junior forward Rudy Stradnieks said. “They surprised us with that press.”

Southern scraped together seven more points in the half and carried a 29-18 deficit into halftime.

Louisville junior forward Deng Adel — who posted a double-double in last season’s matchup — put himself on pace for another after he recorded 10 points and six rebounds in the first half of play. For the game, Adel finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Even though SIU showed promise that it would keep the game the game, the Cardinals opened the second with 14 of the first 20 points.

Southern continued its decline and quickly found themselves down 48-26 with 11:35 left to play.

Coach Barry Hinson calls to his team Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, during the Salukis’ 84-42 loss to the University of Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

After falling behind 53-28, junior guard Eric McGill was given a technical foul when he argued with an official. McGill believed that he was fouled by two Louisville defenders and the official called for a jump ball.

The Cardinals rattled off 10 points and claimed a 63-30 lead after McGill was penalized. That spurt was immediately followed by a 14-4 run that gave Louisville a 77-34 lead with 3:04 left in the game.

“We quit in the second half,” Hinson said. “Our guys just quit and were uncoachable. They wouldn’t do what we asked them to do.”

With the score at 84-36, junior guard Armon Fletcher hit a 3-pointer from the corner that ended the Salukis’ streak of 13 straight misses from behind the arc.

Fletcher — who had 14 points on the night — hit another three that ended the scoring.

“We have to stay together and not let this game determine the rest of our season,” Fletcher said. “We have to move on, keep pushing and get ready for the next game.

The Salukis (2-1) will travel to Murray, Kentucky on Saturday to face the Murray State Racers. Tipoff for the game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“You have to go through adversity,” Stradnieks said. “Forget about this game. We have to go from here.”

Sports editor Nathan Dodd can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @NathanMDodd.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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