Daily Egyptian

Saluki basketball shoots down Lamar Cardinals

By Dillon Gilliland

The Saluki men’s basketball team shut down the Lamar Cardinals (8-2) in Sunday afternoon’s matchup 71-61.

Sunday’s contest was the first time the two teams met in almost 47 years and only the fourth time overall.

Southern struggled to get good shots early but found its footing as the Salukis jumped to an early 8-4 lead.

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“They came out aggressive,” junior guard Sean Lloyd said. “We just needed a few possessions to get accumulated to them.”

The Saluki defense shined early in the half as they gathered one block, three steals and forced seven Cardinal turnovers.

“This is the best defensive club we’ve had since I’ve been here,” head coach Barry Hinson said. “Our numbers prove it.”

With 10 points from junior guard Armon Fletcher, Southern controlled the game for the remainder of the half and carried a 36-22 lead into the half.

SIU kept the pressure on Lamar and used five points from sophomore guard Aaron Cook and a powerful dunk from Fletcher to build a 50-30 lead.

After they trailed by 20 points, the Cardinal offense exploded and narrowed the score to 54-43. Lamar then sank back to back 3-pointers and brought the game within nine at 60-51.

With SIU’s junior center Kavion Pippen limited due to foul trouble, senior forward Jonathan Wiley stepped up and scored a layup and a dunk that gave the Salukis a 66-54 lead.

Wiley went on to score 11 total points along with seven rebounds and three steals on the afternoon.

“He came in and helped us rebound, play defense and score,” Lloyd said. “That’s what we need out of people like Wiley.”

Lloyd’s 21 points and five assists led the Salukis to their fifth victory at SIU Arena this season.

“We came in tuned in,” Lloyd said. “The outcome was a ten point win.”

Up next, the Salukis (6-4) take on North Carolina A&T on Dec. 19 at SIU Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Sports reporter Dillon Gilliland can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @DillonGilliland.

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

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